Work Matters. The College of Occupational Therapists Vocational Rehabilitation Strategy College of Occupational Therapists

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1 Work Matters The College of Occupational Therapists Vocational Rehabilitation Strategy College of Occupational Therapists

2 About the publisher The College of Occupational Therapists is a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT) and operates as a registered charity. It represents the profession nationally and internationally, and contributes widely to policy consultations throughout the UK. The College sets the professional and educational standards for occupational therapy, providing leadership, guidance and information relating to research and development, education, practice and lifelong learning. In addition, 11 accredited specialist sections support expert clinical practice.

3 Work Matters The College of Occupational Therapists Vocational Rehabilitation Strategy College of Occupational Therapists

4 First published in November 2008 by The College of Occupational Therapists, Borough High Street, Southwark, London SE1 1LB Copyright College of Occupational Therapists, London, 2008 Author: College of Occupational Therapists All rights reserved, including translation. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, by any form or any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the College of Occupational Therapists, unless otherwise agreed or indicated. Copying is not permitted except for personal and internal use, to the extent permitted by national copyright law, or under the terms of a licence issued by the relevant national reproduction rights organisation (such as the Copyright Licensing Agency in the UK). Requests for permission for other kinds of copying, such as copying for general distribution, for advertising or promotional purposes, for creating new collective works, or for resale, should be addressed to the Publications Officer at the above address. Other enquiries about this document should be addressed to Practice department at the above address. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the College of Occupational Therapists shall not be liable for any loss or damage either directly or indirectly resulting from the use of this publication. ISBN Typeset by Servis Filmsetting Ltd, Stockport, Cheshire Digitally printed on demand in Great Britain by The Lavenham Press, Suffolk

5 Contents Page Introduction 1 Policy and the changing needs of the population 2 Definitions 2 Occupational therapy 3 Strategic goals 5 1. Ensure service users, employees and employers have access to occupational therapy within all vocational rehabilitation services in the UK Promote good practice, guidance and information so that service users and employees who wish to return to, remain in or take up work receive high quality, evidenced-based occupational therapy 6 Support the continued development of an occupational therapy workforce that is fit for the future and able to meet the challenges of the Government s health and wellbeing policies 7 References 9 Vocational rehabilitation strategy iii

6 Introduction The College of Occupational Therapists believes that everyone in the UK has the right to information, help and support to be able to work, whether this is paid employment, voluntary work or work to care for family or home. To work in paid employment is to become part of our society, to be included rather than excluded, to have a chance to rise above the poverty that is associated with dependence on state benefit. (Barnes and Holmes 2007, p2) Occupational therapists help people to maximise employment opportunities by developing strategies to prevent injury or illness in the workplace, ensuring health and safety at work, and carrying out workplace assessments, task analysis, capacity and motivation building, and absence management. They enable people to get their first jobs and help people to return to their current jobs. Occupational therapists work in partnership with employees, employers, professionals and carers and with a range of services, including Pathways to Work, condition management programmes, Jobcentre Plus and occupational health services as well as health and social care services. Occupational therapists are experts in human occupation and purposeful activity including occupational analysis and therapeutic interventions in the workplace. Occupation is core to the practice of occupational therapy. It is the route to participation, social inclusion, good health, wellbeing and engagement in occupations that add richness to people s lives. National policy and legislative changes make now the opportune time for occupational therapists to reassert their position in vocational rehabilitation and confidently promote their contribution to the work agenda. This strategy describes the College of Occupational Therapists approach to and support for occupational therapists and their clients within vocational rehabilitation. The College will work in partnership with stakeholders to ensure that people who wish to return to, remain in or take up work are supported by occupational therapists who: Routinely ask service users about their work as part of the assessment. Are employed and supported to work in and across different sectors, offering returnto-work and vocational rehabilitation services. Continue to be properly educated to provide first class work and vocational rehabilitation. Are able to produce, evaluate and articulate the evidence that supports their interventions. Vocational rehabilitation strategy 1

7 Introduction Policy and the changing needs of the population The demographics of the UK population are changing. The projected increase in the number of older people and decrease in working age adults will mean that a much smaller number of working people will be supporting those who do not work. In 2006 the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reported that more than 2.7 million people were in receipt of incapacity benefits. Although between 80% and 90% of them intended to return to employment, many never did (DWP 2006). The government plans to increase the number of people who remain in employment when they become sick or disabled and to increase the number who leave benefits to take up or return to employment. Government s aims are to increase employment from 75% to 80% of the working age population, to reduce work-related ill health and enable more people with disabilities and health problems to take up employment. To support these aims a number of initiatives have been developed and access to work is now embedded in a range of policies and legislation. These include: Health, work and well-being: caring for our future (Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department of Health (DH) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 2005). Building capacity for work: a UK framework for vocational rehabilitation (DWP 2004). A new deal for welfare: empowering people to work (DWP 2006). Dame Carol Black s review of the health of Britain s working age population: Working for a healthier tomorrow (Black 2008). The Welsh strategic framework for economic development: Wales: A vibrant economy (Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) 2005). Co-ordinating, integrated and fit for purpose a delivery framework for adult rehabilitation in Scotland (Scottish Executive 2007). Northern Ireland s Department for Employment and Learning corporate plan (DEL 2008). The national service frameworks (NSFs) for mental health (DH 1999, WAG 2005a), long term conditions (DH 2005), coronary heart disease (DH 2000) and children, young people and maternity services (DH and DfES 2004, WAG 2005b). Mental health and social exclusion (Social Exclusion Unit 2004). The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (Great Britain. Parliament 2005). Ready for work: full employment in our generation (DWP 2007). Definitions Vocational rehabilitation is a commonly used term that has different meanings for different people. Most often, it refers to the process of helping people who have disabilities or ill-health to remain in, return to or move into meaningful activity, work or paid employment. Government initiatives tend to define work within the context of paid employment, measuring outcomes by the number of people who have moved into paid employment and away from benefits. 2 College of Occupational Therapists

8 Introduction This strategy uses the following definitions: Employment: paid work in a formal setting. Work: a range of purposeful activities, which may or may not be paid. Vocational rehabilitation: a process to overcome the barriers an individual faces as a result of injury, illness or impairment when accessing, remaining in or returning to purposeful activity, work and employment. This process includes the procedures in place to support the individual, their family, friends or carers, their employers or others in the community. It includes help to access and practically manage the delivery of vocational rehabilitation and the wide range of interventions that help people with a health condition and/or impairment to overcome barriers to work and remain in, return to or access employment or work opportunities. (Based on definitions in Occupational therapy in vocational rehabilitation (Barnes and Holmes 2007) and in Building capacity for work (DWP 2004).) Occupational therapy Occupational therapists understand the importance and significance that occupation and employment have on a person s health and wellbeing. Occupational therapy helps people access, remain in or return to employment and includes some of the following: Assessments of employees needs regarding their: Functional ability. Employment status. Tolerance for work. Condition or disability. Work task analysis and workplace assessment to assess the physical, psychological and interpersonal demands of a job, the environment in which it takes place, and meeting with the employer and employee to identify suitable duties, to facilitate maintenance at, or return to work. Work modification including advice regarding workstation or equipment modification, or the provision of equipment or other material. Work conditioning and return-to-work planning. Advice on coping strategies and occupational rehabilitation counselling. Advice on and help with adjusting to injury or illness. Functional education and work task coaching, tailored to employees individual needs. Vocational assessments of transferable vocational skills. Case management to ensure fair and equitable interpretation of the rehabilitation-towork procedure and ensure return-to-work plans are adhered to and outcomes achieved. Assistance, advice and training for employers and supervisors. For more information go to Vocational rehabilitation strategy 3

9 Strategic goals These strategic goals have been developed following consultation with a range of member stakeholders. They will steer the College s activities in vocational rehabilitation for the next three years. 1. Ensure service users, employees and employers have access to occupational therapy within all vocational rehabilitation services in the UK The College of Occupational Therapists will: Work with stakeholders to promote occupational therapy in vocational rehabilitation. Promote the positive benefits and unique selling points occupational therapists bring to vocational rehabilitation through a variety of means including stakeholder events, lobbying and publications. Produce tools for members to frame their skills in the current political language for maximum impact and understanding by others about the relevance of occupational therapy. Work with members to develop opportunities to share ideas and successes, examples of good practice, service designs and other relevant information with each other and with stakeholders, commissioners and the public as appropriate. Work with Specialist Sections to develop partnerships and/or collaborative working with government policy makers and key national organisations across the UK. Occupational therapists will: Articulate the positive contribution that occupational therapists can make to the health, work and wellbeing agenda. Actively promote themselves as experts in work rehabilitation. Managers will: Ensure commissioners of services are aware of the need to include occupational therapy in vocational rehabilitation services and vocational rehabilitation in service contracts. Seek greater involvement in the delivery of local occupational health services, sharing their expertise and developing local services, promoting the occupational therapy contribution to these services. Vocational rehabilitation strategy 5

10 Strategic goals 2. Promote good practice, guidance and information so that service users and employees who wish to return to, remain in or take up work receive high quality, evidenced-based occupational therapy The College of Occupational Therapists will: Promote the dissemination of good practice and sound evidence for occupational therapy that supports positive outcomes for service users. Work with researchers to produce and publish sound evidence for occupational therapy interventions in vocational rehabilitation. Work with education providers and trainers to provide a range of post-registration opportunities in vocational rehabilitation and leadership. Work with regions to develop mentoring, supervision and support networks for lone occupational therapists working in emerging areas, for new graduates and for other members wishing to improve their expertise. Work with members to: Produce guidance and papers for journals. Seek out opportunities and support members to present at key conferences. Occupational therapists will: Evaluate and interpret evidence so that it informs their interventions. Employ the appropriate skills, knowledge and expertise to work across a range of agencies from all sectors. Ask their service users about their work and employment. Share information, examples and service user feedback that meet outcome targets with managers, commissioners, the College and other stakeholders and occupational therapists. Disseminate the results of their interventions. Managers will: Promote the inclusion of work questions in occupational therapy assessments, guidance and literature. Raise the profile of vocational rehabilitation as a health prevention and enhancing activity with their own managers and employers. 6 College of Occupational Therapists

11 Strategic goals 3. Support the continued development of an occupational therapy workforce that is fit for the future and able to meet the challenges of the Government s health and wellbeing policies The College of Occupational Therapists will: Support existing and emerging leaders of occupational therapy to ensure they are at the forefront of vocational rehabilitation practice, management, education and research, nationally and internationally. Work with education providers to include vocational rehabilitation in the preregistration curriculum to ensure students become competent practitioners who include vocational rehabilitation in their practice. Identify new and emerging opportunities that will benefit from occupational therapy and publicise these to members. Work with members to gather and hold up-to-date information about those who are specialising in vocational rehabilitation, their areas of expertise and where they work. Occupational therapists will: Seek opportunities for continuing professional development (CPD) in order to enhance their knowledge of relevant policies and occupational therapy practice in vocational rehabilitation. Offer opportunities to other occupational therapists to expand their knowledge in this field, for example offering shadowing. Managers will: Embed and reinforce vocational rehabilitation in existing and new services. Report to their boards, executive officers and senior managers about the positive outcomes of their organisation s involvement in vocational rehabilitation activities. Routinely work in partnership with service users to develop vocational rehabilitation services and identify gaps in current service provision. For more information and updates go to Vocational rehabilitation strategy 7

12 References Barnes T, Holmes J (2007) Occupational therapy in vocational rehabilitation: a brief guide to current practice in the UK. Available at: profpractice/quality/vrsswork.pdf Accessed on Black C (2008) Working for a healthier tomorrow. London: Stationery Office. Department of Health (1999) National service framework for mental health: modern standards and service models. London: DH. Department of Health (2000) National service framework for coronary heart disease. London: DH. Department of Health (2005) National service framework for long term conditions. London: DH. Department of Health, Department for Education and Skills (2004) National service framework for children, young people and maternity services. London: DH. Department for Employment and Learning (2008) Department for Employment and Learning corporate plan Northern Ireland: DEL. Department for Work and Pensions (2004) Building capacity for work: a UK framework for vocational rehabilitation. London: DWP. Department for Work and Pensions (2006) A new deal for welfare: empowering people to work. London: DWP. Department for Work and Pensions (2007) Ready for work: full employment in our generation. London: DWP. Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health, Health and Safety Executive (2005) Health, work and well-being: caring for our future. London: DWP. Great Britain. Parliament (2005) Disability Discrimination Act London: Stationery Office. Scottish Executive (2007) Co-ordinating, integrated and fit for purpose: a delivery framework for adult rehabilitation in Scotland. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive. Social Exclusion Unit (2004) Mental health and social exclusion. London: Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Welsh Assembly Government (2005) Wales: a vibrant economy. Cardiff: WAG. Welsh Assembly Government (2005a) Raising the standard: the revised adult mental health national service framework and an action plan for Wales. Cardiff: WAG. Welsh Assembly Government (2005b) National service framework for children, young people and maternity services Wales. Cardiff: WAG. Vocational rehabilitation strategy 9

13 Work Matters The College of Occupational Therapists Vocational Rehabilitation Strategy Everyone has the right to information, help and support to be able to work, whether this is paid employment, voluntary work or caring for family or home. This publication presents the strategic goals that will steer the College of Occupational Therapists and its members for the next three years, to: Ensure service users, employees and employers have access to occupational therapy within all vocational rehabilitation services. Promote good practice, guidance and information so that service users and employees who wish to return to, remain in or take up work receive high quality, evidenced-based occupational therapy. Support the continued development of an occupational therapy workforce that is fit for the future and able to meet the challenges of the Government s health and wellbeing policies. Occupational therapy is founded on the belief that occupation is the route to good health and wellbeing and that work adds richness to peoples lives. ISBN Available for Download Available for Download Available for Download Tel: Fax: Available for Download Available for Download 2008 College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. A registered charity in England and Wales (No ) and in Scotland (No. SCO39573) and a company

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