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Promising return-to-work practices for health care facilities

Compared to people in other occupations, you are more likely to lose time away from work due to a job-related injury as a health care worker. There are several reasons for this. There is a shortage of workers in health care occupations, which puts more stress on the ones remaining. Adding to the pressure, hospitals and long-term care facilities need to operate 24 hours a day. 

It is important for you to approach your return to work carefully. If you return before you are ready, you could not only compromise your own health but also put patients in harm’s way. According to the Department of Labor, there are promising practices that your employer can implement, if not already in place, to help you return to work successfully. 

Provide treatment as soon as possible

If you do become injured as a health care worker, you have several advantages that are not available in other professions. You can often begin treatment right away because of your ready access to physicians. Though each individual case is different, receiving treatment as soon as possible may help you recover more quickly and therefore return to work sooner. 

Give documentation

As you begin to recover from a work injury, and once you reach maximal medical improvement, your treating physician may impose restrictions on your work activities based on your physical limitations. Your employer can make this easier by providing you with documentation for your physician to fill out. 

Make vocational rehabilitation accessible

Vocational rehabilitation is a program intended to help you find transitional work, at your current facility if possible, following your injury as well as a permanent position if you are no longer able to perform your old job. VR counselors often have master’s degrees in counseling. Hospitals and other facilities often hire them to serve as case managers for injured employees. 

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