Case Management, Medical Consultation, Technology, Vocational Rehabilitation

The Role of Vocational Rehabilitation

 January 3, 2019

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

Regardless of the cause of an injury, one question is inevitable. When will you return to work? Oftentimes, it will be a vocational expert that will provide the testimony and feedback that will help determine the answer, should the case go to court. This same expert will report on job readiness, as well as current and future employability.

These services and more are included in vocational rehabilitation, a specialty of case management. Other services provided include job analysis, development and coaching to return to the labor market. We ensure ADA compliance, as well as conduct future employability studies and lost earning evaluations. As mentioned before, we also provide testimony for litigation.

Helping with Coping

Our vocational experts help employees cope with their current situation. It is important that they have equal opportunities in their work place. We identify those who require rehabilitation services and provide information to disability insurance providers.

Mental health awareness has increased. Thus, the stigma that used to be placed on mental illness has been lifted somewhat. Clients now have access to counseling psychotherapy, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy and group therapy.

Crossing That Bridge

Vocational rehabilitation is the bridge between medical treatment and the return to work. Therefore, clients may have to be trained to acquire new skills or at least the appropriate capacity to work. They must be familiar with any special equipment or tools required to undertake their duties. Even after the patient is fully recovered, follow up services may be a good idea, to ensure that he or she is keeping up in the work place.

Even if a client does not require therapy, he or she may still very well benefit from some degree of counselling through this process. The most important thing is that they arrive at the solutions themselves.  There are three four tools typically used for assessments:

  • Interview style and technique – Is the rehabilitation process useful? We determine this by interviewing clients regarding their progress and treatment process. The data we collect aids in the assessment of the treatment process.
  • Disability factors – A cross examination of the client’s physical health is undertaken. This is used mostly on people with physical injuries that can be easily observed. The information provided aids in the assessment of his or her health.
  • Work history – People who have had disabilities in the past have a work history record. This is useful when it comes to indicating progress, or a lack thereof.

As nurses, OT’s, and social workers, we already have the necessary values for this part of the job. We do not discriminate. We practice confidentiality. Most importantly, we pride ourselves in being trustworthy, empathetic and self-determined. As always, we coordinate the implementation of medical care to our clients. With vocational rehabilitation, we see to their recovery and gradual return to the workplace.

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