Returning to work after a serious injury

Returning to work after a serious injury can be a daunting prospect. You may worry that everything will have changed and that you will struggle to find your place again. Returning can also present you with physical challenges as well.

With proper support, however, you can successfully reintegrate into the workplace and regain a sense of normality. Here are some things you can discuss with your employer to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

Gradual return to work plan

Returning to work should be approached gently and slowly. You don’t want to risk returning full force and jeopardising your recovery because you weren’t ready.

Talk with your manager about implementing a phased return. For some people, this could mean starting at two hours per day and gradually building up their daily hours. For others, doing certain days a week initially will suit them better.

Workplace adaptations

If your injury has left you with a physical impairment, even if it is temporary, your workplace is required to make reasonable adjustments for you.

For example, if you find walking challenging, you can request that your desk be closer to the lift or on a different floor. People who find typing painful or difficult for long periods may be able to request a different keyboard that can make accommodations for them.

Mental health can be grounds for workplace adjustments too, so try to be as candid with your managers as possible. It may be that, until your confidence comes back, you can do administrative duties rather than talk on the phone, for example.

Physical and occupational therapy

As part of your recovery, you will likely have engaged in some sort of therapy. You must continue this once you do return to work to further your recovery.

Physical therapy is great for helping you to recover some of your mobility and independence which will help you with work. Before you go back, ensure your manager is informed about your appointments so that you can work out a plan where you can attend them each week.

It is worth touching base with an occupational therapist when you return as well. They will be able to assess your working environment and make suggestions for changes that will help you do your job properly.

Additional support

Even if you are feeling better physically, your mental state may be in a different place. You may want to seek out counselling so that you can talk to a professional about how you are feeling.

Legal support is also an option when your injury has occurred due to complications or negligence. A good legal team will be an expert in amputation claims, for example, and be able to support you through the process of a compensation claim.

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