Helping a patient prepare for return to work
When an individual is preparing to return to work, the first day back can seem daunting and an obstacle which is insurmountable. As a result, the GP and patient may have very different views of a suitable return to work date. Naturally, this may lead to confrontation and resistance. The Health and Safety Executive16 provide some suggestions to help patients with this difficult period. These suggestions are provided below in Figure 7. The GP may find that passing on these suggestions to the patient, helps ‘work readiness’17 and so less resistance and confrontation is faced when a ‘Fitnote6’ with amended duties/phased return to work is being written.
Figure 7: Suggestions for Assisting a Patient with Work-Readiness
- Keep in touch with work colleagues/ line manager, even if that is just through occasional telephone conversations.
- If you feel up to it, why not visit informally, during coffee/lunch time for a cup of coffee?
- Tell your line manager what would help you return to work.
- If you feel happy to do so, why not ask your employer to write to your GP about your job and any adjustment which may help you return to work?
- Discuss with your line manager a ‘Return to Work plan’16, which could include a ‘phased return’ or ‘amended duties’ for a period of time. Such adjustments may affect your pay, however, your Human Resources department or line manager should be able to provide you with information on this, upon request.
- If there are any problems with returning to work, speak to your line manager, as they may be able to help. Remember, if you do not contact your employer, they may have to make decisions about you without knowing your needs.