Occupational Rehabilitation

Occupational Rehabilitation

Occupational Rehabilitation

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Occupational Rehabilitation (OR) is focused on assisting Injured Workers (IW) to return to or maintain themselves at work. Work can be an integral part of someone’s life and when injured, this can have significant impacts on a person’s ability to function at work and in their personal lives.  

However, research suggests that returning to work can play a major part in someone’s rehabilitation and recovery. This is where an Occupational Rehabilitation Consultant can help.

Carfi is an industry leader in providing specialised psychological injury occupational rehabilitation and early intervention services. With this specialisation, Carfi is well positioned to effectively respond to and manage the escalating psychological injury profile in organisations. Carfi has:

  • Industry leading sustainable return to work outcomes for psychological injury claims.
  • Carfi Consultants have a thorough, informed and robust understanding of psychological injury, the risks associated with mismanagement of psychological injury and evidence-based rehabilitation interventions that are effective in mitigating and overcoming these risks.
  • Carfi uses its expertise in the area of psychology to develop effective return to work interventions relating to cases involving mental illness, trauma, interpersonal conflict and the process of alienation and disengagement that may occur between an employee and manager. 
  • Carfi adds significant value as psychological and dual injury specialists by defusing secondary issues creating barriers to return to work engagement and assisting to achieve timely and sustainable return to work outcomes.

Consultants are specifically trained in return to work and have a background in health, be it psychology, occupational therapy, exercise physiology, nursing etc. OR Consultants are independent of all other stakeholders involved in the rehabilitation process and their services can be called upon by an Agent / Insurer or by an Employer.

The role of an OR Consultant is to facilitate the OR process and to act as a conduit between the key stakeholders involved in the process. These stakeholders usually include: the worker, Treating Health Practitioners, the Employer and the Agent. In collaboration with these stakeholders, the OR Consultant assists in the development of a plan to assist injured workers return to work safely. Throughout the return to work process, the OR Consultant maintains contact with the key stakeholders to ensure that all parties are informed of the worker’s progress.

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Carfi has over 20 years of Early Intervention experience in Occupational Rehabilitation programs with both public and private sectors.

Carfi utilises a holistic approach to Early Intervention. We highlight benefits for the individual i.e. promoting early and ongoing recovery from injury and maintaining engagement with the workplace, and benefits for the organisation i.e. promoting proactive injury management and retaining employees productively at work.

Our Early Intervention service delivery model has the following principles:

  • The team leader plays a central role in referral and management
  • Short term occupational rehabilitation interventions focused on sustaining employees at work
  • Collaborative processes are used to maintain employee engagement with the workplace
  • Work-related and non-work related conditions are included
  • Assessment and intervention adopts a biopsychosocial approach considering the employee’s physical, psychological, social and environmental factors
  • Communication and consultation with all parties
  • Injury treatment remains in the hands of service providers chosen by the employee.

The Carfi Early Intervention Program has proved to be very effective in avoiding difficult and expensive workers compensation claims. These programs have also had a positive effect on staff health and wellbeing and often avoided protracted conflict in the workplace.

We work to assist injured employees either remain at, or return to work. We help to determine if an employee can return to their pre-injury or alternative duties.

Initial Rehabilitation Assessment

Carfi work with employers and insurers to conduct Initial Rehabilitation Assessments. Assessments are usually conducted onsite and examine the rehabilitation needs of an employee and the workplace requirements in order to develop a rehabilitation/Return To Work (RTW) plan.

The Initial Rehabilitation Assessment details the services we recommend to assist the employee in returning to their normal hours and duties, plus it also identifies any barriers that would negatively impact this process.

Return to Work Planning and Case Management

Each Return to Work (RTW) plan is carefully managed to ensure Carfi occupational rehabilitation services will:

  • Identify and address the critical physical, psychological, social, environmental and organisational risk factors and barriers which may have an impact on a worker’s ability to successfully return to work Identify potential suitable, modified and alternative duties, in accordance with rehabilitation goals and recovery
  • Assist the worker and employer to structure the duties and incorporate them into RTW planning which will then be regularly reviewed in consultation with the injured worker, the treating health practitioner and the employer
  • Monitor the RTW Plan to ensure that all tasks are carried out safely while working towards the RTW goal
  • Be responsive to address concerns raised by any of the stakeholders involved
  • Communicate regularly with the worker, the employer, the treating practitioners and the insurer regarding the return to work progress
  • Undertake regular workplace review meetings
  • Attend medical reviews / case conferences, as required
  • Recognise the importance of sustaining the RTW goal in order to ensure a durable return to work outcome.

In some instances, returning to work with the original employer is not possible. For these situations Carfi work with all key parties to identify the best alternative employment opportunities.

Vocational Assessments (VA)

We begin the process by conducting a Vocational Assessment. This involves an in-depth interview aimed at identifying realistic alternative employment options, which are in line with an individual’s work experience, qualifications, transferable skills, physical/psychological abilities, and linked to the job market. Once this is done we can recommend employers and jobs that have the right fit with the prospective employee’s skill sets.

Job Seeking Services (JSS) Program

A JSS Program is recommended when it’s not possible to return to work with the pre-injury employer and suitable alternatives have been identified during a Vocational Assessment. The JSS program equip injured workers with job seeking skills to find their new employer sooner.

Benefits of the JSS Programs include:

  • Provide a comprehensive job seeker resource kit
  • Develop job seeker plans
  • Professional Resume development
  • Develop Job Application Cover Letter templates
  • Interview skills training
  • Mock interviews
  • Develop skills to access job vacancies via newspaper and internet
  • Register with recruitment/job network agencies
  • Submit applications for suitable positions
  • Attend interviews and provide feedback on outcomes
  • Cold canvassing prospective employers
  • Focus on realistic new employment goals and occupations based on transferable skills
  • Promote a collaborative approach in which both the individual and Carfi share responsibility for seeking and obtaining new employment
  • Promote provision of incentive schemes to assist both the individual and the new employer
  • Job placements are monitored for 13 weeks to ensure return to work in new employment has been successful and sustainable.

Vocational Re-education / Retraining

Sometimes we may recommend retraining to help an employee improve their chances of gaining employment. We identify courses that build upon previous work experience and transferable skills, rather than proposing a career re-direction. Retraining is a good option when all other return to work avenues have been exhausted and when the employees’ current skills are unlikely to attract new employment.

Vocational Counselling

We provide vocational counselling to make injured employees aware of their work potential when job seeking. Vocational counselling is an important part of a rehabilitation program and we may recommend vocational counselling if the injured worker is uncertain about their job direction, appears unmotivated in searching for a job, is experiencing difficulties in securing or maintaining employment, or if there are significant barriers to employment which have been identified.

Transferable Skills Analysis (TSA)

A Transferable Skills Analysis (TSA) is an assessment of transferable skills to support case management planning for injured workers who do not have a work capacity and preparatory steps are required to identify future potential employment options. TSA is more likely to provide benefit to the injured worker and case management plan when:

  • There is medical evidence to suggest the worker’s injury is improving and there is potential work capacity in the short term
  • The injured worker has expressed an interest in vocational options
  • The TSA will support reviews with the treating health practitioner to consider the future potential employment options as part of the treatment plan and functional goal setting
  • Long-term injured workers need support to discuss and explore opportunities.

Capacity Support Services (CSS)

The purpose of this service is to establish whether an injured worker has a current work capacity for potential job seeking. Carfi plans and implements a six week strategy, utilising our expertise and judgment to structure the CSS to ensure it is customised to the individual needs of the injured worker.

Worksite Assessments

Carfi conducts worksite assessments at the workplace, with both the employer and injured worker present. We look at the physical or psychological demands of the pre-injury job role and recommend alternative, modified, or suitable duties. We use the assessment to then develop the most appropriate RTW Plan.

Office Ergonomic Assessment

Ergonomic assessments ensure that staff have correctly adjusted workstations and ergonomic equipment, such as a chair, monitor, keyboard and mouse set up, manual handling techniques and work flow, etc.

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)

This evaluation determines an individual’s performance levels and functional tolerances and compares them to the demands of the job role.

Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation (CFCE)

A CFCE provides an objective measure of an employee’s cognitive functioning following a workplace injury. Using psychometric testing, we test a worker’s residual cognitive capacity, such as awareness, perception, reasoning and judgment, to undergo occupational rehabilitation and to determine the suitability of their duties in the workplace.

Task Analysis

The task analysis provides an essential tool to negotiate the suitability of duties offered as part of a RTW Plan with treating practitioners.