Sometimes, as a GP treating an injured worker, you may find that your patient needs extra specialist support, particularly if their return to work program isn’t progressing as expected. In these situations, a workplace rehabilitation provider (WRP) can help.What exactly do workplace rehabilitation providers do?
WRPs include a range of health professionals – occupational therapists, physiotherapists, psychologists etc – who help develop and implement return to work programs.
They do this by working with you, your patient (the injured worker) and your patient’s employer to identify and address the physical, psychological and workplace barriers that may prevent your patient from returning to work.
WRPs provide a range of services, including:
- initial assessment
- development of a return to work program
- other specific assessments, including ergonomic assessments, job demand assessments, worksite assessments, functional capacity assessments, aids and appliances assessments and vocational assessments
- other return-to-work activities, including support and vocational counselling, case management and progress reporting.
Take a look at our Workplace rehabilitation providers page and Steps to access your patient’s workplace information for more information.
Remember, early intervention and referral improves the chances of a positive outcome and a safe, successful and sustainable return to work for your patient.
You should consider referring your patient to a WRP if:
- your patient’s employer is having difficulty identifying suitable duties
- your patient has a severe or complex injury
- your patient’s capacity for work is difficult to determine
- you think other psychosocial factors, such as workplace or psychological factors, may affect your patient’s successful transition back to work.
Workplace rehabilitation providers can also help you, your patient and your patient’s employers when:
- your patient is unable to carry out their pre-injury duties and there is a need to identify suitable duties with the same or a new employer
- a practical assessment of your patient’s capacity is required (i.e. when there are conflicting opinions about your patient’s physical or psychological work capacity)
- your patient is experiencing problems returning to work (e.g. your patient may be anxious about returning to a particular work area or job)
- modifications in the workplace or aids and equipment are required to assist your patient in returning to work (i.e. where an injured worker is restricted while recovering from major surgery or there are multiple injuries)
- a new return to work program goal is identified, particularly one that identifies a new employer is required. you need to determine whether your patient has skills and experience that will assist them to obtain new employment if they can’t return to their pre-injury job.
Any party can initiate a referral to a WRP. However, to comply with their conditions of approval, the WRP must ensure you, your patient and your patient’s employer all agree to the referral.
Please indicate that you’re referring your patient to a WRP on the certificate of capacity and provide the WRP’s contact details to the relevant workers’ compensation insurer. You should also complete the workplace rehabilitation referral form and send a copy to the workplace rehabilitation provider, your patient and the insurer.
It’s important to note that your patient has the right to choose their own WRP – you can assist them to select a WRP and direct them to our register of approved workplace rehabilitation providers.
Find out more about injury management strategies. Read about the importance of early intervention and case conferences, or learn how to address psychosocial concerns and what you need to bear in mind when it comes to return to work programs.