Returning to work is an important goal for most people who were working before their stroke. What this looks like, the pathway and eventual destination, is different for everyone. Good planning and support is important to ensure a successful return to work.
A successful return to work begins with understanding how the effects of your stroke will impact you at work. This includes considering any physical limitations, as well as thinking, sensory and communication and personality changes.
Difficulty walking or moving around, reduced hand and arm function may need to be considered. You may have difficulties with memory, concentration and planning. You may have vision loss, or difficulties speaking, reading or writing. Personality changes and fatigue can also impact your ability to work.
If returning to work is one of your goals, talk with your doctor and rehabilitation team. Obtaining medical clearance from a doctor is recommended to ensure you are able to perform the requirements of your role safely. Rehabilitation is your opportunity to review your strengths and compare this to what is needed for your work. You can focus on relearning or practicing the key skills needed for your work. You can also learn compensatory strategies to help with things such as memory or concentration.
Your rehabilitation team may recommend changes to the hours or duties you have at work. They can also advise on specialised equipment and adaptations. They may also be able to educate your employer and colleagues about the support you need to return to work successfully.
There are different sources of assistance and services that can assist you to return to work depending on your situation. These include Centrelink, your employer’s human resources or occupational health and safety department and specialist private services. There are also services to help if you cannot return to paid work.
This can be a good goal to help you get better.
Planning to go back to work
You need a plan and good support to get back to work.
Your stroke might affect your work.
This includes physical limitations.
It also includes changes in your thinking, feeling and personality.
Talk to your doctor.
Get medical clearance to do your job safely.
You might need to change your hours.
You might need to change the things you do at work.
You might need special equipment.
Rehabilitation means getting better after a stroke.
It helps you get back to normal.
It helps you learn to do different things.
Practice doing the things you need to do at work.
Learn ways to help with things like memory and concentration.