Vocational Rehabilitation: Helping employees return to work after an injury

When an employee is injured at work, they need support, treatment, and financial assistance as they recover. WorkSafe BC is British Columbia’s workers’ compensation program. They partner with employers and employees to educate and prevent work-related injuries and support and compensate those injured so they can safely heal and return to work.

There are cases however of employees receiving sufficient treatment and recovery time, but still being unable to return to the full demands of their pre-injury job. At this stage, WorkSafe BC considers these employees to be “medically stabilized” and reviews any permanent limitations, restrictions, and medical and functional information that is part of the employee’s claim.

Stabilized individuals are then assigned to a WorkSafe BC Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant (VRC) who assists them in returning to work. The VRC helps the employee through a vocational rehabilitation process with the goal of them going back to work in an available, suitable role – one where any permanent limitations, restrictions, or pre-injury earnings are accommodated or restored.

5 Phases of Vocational Rehabilitation

Disability Management Institute (DMI) | GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions

Phase 1: The first phase consists of returning an employee to work at the same pre-injury job with the same employer. Employers may need to adjust to accommodate a returning individual, assuming their permanent limitations are minor or do not greatly affect them resuming work at their pre-injury job. If this isn’t possible, the VRC moves to Phase 2.

Phase 2: The VRC explores the availability of other positions with the same employer.

These positions should satisfy accommodations for any permanent limitations or restrictions and pre-injury earnings.

Phase 3: If no suitable options are available in Phase 2, the VHC will identify other

opportunities for the employee in a similar or related industry, in order to utilize an employee’s transferrable skills.

Phase 4: If there aren’t any options in Phase 3, the VHC works with the employee to move them into a different industry – one where they can use their skills, work experience, aptitudes, or interests.

Phase 5: Developing and training is the last and final phase of vocational rehabilitation. An employee may attend training to gain any additional and necessary skills for them to return to work.
While the five phases above are simplified, there are many policies and procedures and cooperation from several parties to get an employee back at work. Fortunately, relatively few claims make it to the last phase, as many individuals are accommodated by their employers.

Rehabilitation & Return to Work Support

Rehabilitation case management is vital to reducing the duration of many complex absence files. Engaging with stakeholders including health care providers to identify cost effective solutions focused on regaining recovery and Return-to-Work (RTW). We focus on early intervention and stay-at-work opportunities. DMI embraces returning to work as part of the recovery journey. It is well-established in the literature that graduated RTW efforts build self-efficacy, a capability which correlates strongly with sustainable RTW. We advocate wherever possible for early re-entry efforts as a building block in the process.

Disability Management Institute (DMI)

DMI provides professional disability management services across Canada. Acting as an independent third party, DMI works closely with employers and disabled workers to proactively manage disability. DMI provides numerous services, but its WCB Claims Management Program can be instrumental in affecting costs of long-term disability.

One of the most important factors in sustainability is having cost control mechanisms in place. When it comes to cost control for disability benefits, being proactive is the name of the game. At GroupHEALTH, we do this by partnering with the Disability Management Institute (DMI).

Good Advice is Key

Interested in learning more about how disability management services can help control disability claim costs? Looking for disability benefits that include these services? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.

Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.

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