Returning to work after a brain injury | Bolt Burdon Kemp Returning to work after a brain injury | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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Returning to work after a brain injury

Experiencing a brain injury can dramatically change your life, especially when it comes to your job. You may need to take extended leave or even leave your job altogether. While these are both stressful in themselves, the prospect of returning to work after a brain injury brings additional worry for many brain injury survivors.

Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for a return to work can reduce anxiety and make the process less daunting.

Here are some hints and tips for a successful return to work gleaned from my experience as a solicitor in the Adult Brain Injury team at Bolt Burdon Kemp.

Understand the impact of your injury on your ability to work

Brain injuries can affect many aspects of your life including:

Cognitive function: Your concentration, memory, planning, and problem-solving abilities may change.

Physical abilities: You may develop headaches, fatigue, dizziness and reduced motor skills.

Emotional well-being: You may become anxious, depressed or have mood swings.

Social skills:  Communication and social interactions can become challenging.

These changes can affect your ability to work as well as reduce your confidence.

Preparing to return to work

There are things that you can do to set yourself up for a successful return:

Pace yourself: Don’t rush your recovery. Be patient with your rehabilitation and treatment.

Get organised: Use planners, reminders or calendar apps to manage tasks.

Keep calm: Techniques like mindfulness, meditation, and exercise can help manage stress and improve focus.

Seek support: Lean on colleagues, friends, family, support groups or therapists for help.

Plan: Only consider returning to work when you feel ready. Careful planning can smooth the transition.

Consult professionals: Your healthcare providers and therapists can offer valuable advice on when to return and what accommodations might be needed.

Be open with your employer: Tell your employer about your needs and expectations so they can prepare for your return. Agreeing a phased return to work plan with gradually increasing hours and responsibilities can be helpful.

How employers can help

Employers must, by law, make reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities. Your employer can support your return by:

  • Offering flexible hours
  • Modifying job responsibilities
  • Reducing workload
  • Implementing assistive technologies.

Educating staff about hidden disabilities such as brain injuries and fostering an inclusive and supportive workplace are also crucial. Employers should continue to support and check in regularly, offering ongoing adjustments if needed.

How we can help

If your brain injury is due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important to contact a specialist brain injury solicitor as soon as possible as they will help you get the early support and rehabilitation you need to ease your return to work.

Our team understands early intervention is crucial; the longer anyone is off work, the greater the obstacles to return to work become. We do all we can to get you the best possible vocational rehabilitation as early as possible, to help you stay at, return to and remain at work, if your injuries allow.

Vocational rehabilitation will create a personalised plan aligning your personal strengths and career goals, will include training to improve your cognitive and work-related skills, such as memory, attention and problem-solving, and will help in finding suitable job opportunities and provide ongoing support to ensure a successful transition back to work. It will also help in identifying and implementing necessary accommodations in the workplace to support your specific needs.

Our focus at BBK is to give you the best chance of rebuilding your life after suffering a life-changing injury that was not your fault, and this includes supporting your return to work if your injuries allow, and obtaining financial compensation if this is not possible.

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