Vocational Rehabilitation

What is it?

Vocational rehabilitation is a planned series of activities with the goal of helping an individual return to work after an injury or health setback. 

Individuals may be out of work as a result of an acquired disability or long-term health problem, or they may want to retain their current job and stay with the same employer. 

Our vocational rehabilitation action plans are underpinned by a thorough assessment of the individual and their wider context and situation, as different people will require different levels and different types of input.

We are normally funded by insurers or occupational health / HR departments. We initially provide a comprehensive assessment report and a return to work action plan. If relevant, we also provide advice on job re-design, retraining and job retention.

The Revised Rehabilitation Code

Successful claims handling is more than maximising or minimising compensation

Arranging compensation for accident victims is not enough. Claimant solicitors are now expected to help Claimants rebuild their lives as soon as possible, and insurance companies have agreed to pay for reasonable rehabilitation services.

'The Revised Rehabilitation Code' is supported by all the main associations for insurers and personal injury lawyers (including APIL & FOIL). The purpose of the code is to encourage both sides in a dispute to consider how the Claimant can be helped to rebuild their life. It puts the Claimant at the centre of the process and is viewed as a priority.

The document sets out the role of the suitably qualified and experienced 'independent assessor', which is to determine rehabilitation needs and recommendations. Our team of occupational psychologists and vocational rehabilitation professionals is well equipped to provide a comprehensive and helpful report.

Different aspects of the assessment:

The basis of a realistic and practical return to work action plan is a sound assessment. Our vocational rehabilitation assessment reports are comprehensive and holistic.  The different aspects we examine include:

Some of these factors can be more objectively assessed than others. However, a report that attempts to consider each of the above areas and makes appropriate recommendations is extremely useful for helping the individual make an assessment of what is realistic for them going forward. In addition, the report will also provide advice to the instructing agent on how to facilitate a positive outcome and manage the key transitions into work, into a new job with the same firm, or into another role in another firm. We will also take into account the suitability of the statutory services that are potentially available to help people with disabilities return or remain in employment.

In summary, we give clear objective advice on whether a return to work is realistic in the circumstances and if so, how to maximise that person’s capability so that they reach the goals.

What can make a successful return to work more difficult?

In our assessments, we examine typical barriers to returning to work and remaining in work, including, but not limited to: direct and indirect effects of the disability, depression, lack of confidence, lack of self-awareness and tendency to target inappropriate job roles, lack of qualifications and insufficient training.

Timing is crucial in Vocational Rehabilitation.The need for initial vocational rehabilitation may be before the medical condition is stable and before the insurers are ready to pay for it. For example, an early discussion of career options can be useful in preparing the ground for acceptance of the need for retraining; or an early approach to the employer about job retention once the extent of the disability is known, with the aim of keeping a job open. These needs can arise before issues of liability and causation, have been clarified. In addition, there is an optimum window of opportunity in which the individual will most readily respond to assistance. If left too long, the individual may become despondent; or their support structures may collapse , for example, as in marital breakdown.

Dealing with these issues appropriately will make it more likely that the injured Claimant will make a successful transition to work, and in the process, allow them to better re-build their lives, or help prevent their situation from deteriorating.