Returning To Work After a Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries affect thousands of people in the United States every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, brain injuries contribute to approximately 30% of deaths in the country.
People who live with brain trauma may experience debilitating symptoms that can affect their lives in various ways. In some cases, TBI patients may be unable to return to work, however, technological advances in the diagnosis and treatment of TBI have helped more brain injury patients in Rhode Island and across the country return to work. Not only does this help people financially, but returning to work can also help to improve the symptoms of brain injury.
Challenges for TBI Victims Returning to Work
Returning to work after suffering a traumatic brain injury can be difficult. Since every brain injury is unique, people may have different challenges when reentering the workforce.
According to Brainline.org, potential problems include:
- Transportation issues: Some workers may be unable to drive due to their injuries and may rely on public transportation or other means of getting to and from work.
- Emotional issues: TBI patients may experience significant mood changes and have trouble interacting with others. Some people may suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety.
- Neurological deficiency: Brain injuries can cause issues with memory, judgment, multi-tasking, attention span, decision making, and sequencing. Some people may have trouble understanding directions and following through on tasks.
- Physical limitations: Workers with TBI may have weak muscles, decreased sensitivity, lack of coordination, sleeping problems, and decreased endurance. This can prevent people from doing certain tasks.
How To Know If I’m Ready to Return to Work
Some people with TBI may be able to return to the same type of work they did before they were injured. Others may need vocational training to relearn certain skills or may be forced to find another type of job altogether. Vocational rehabilitation specialists can help determine injured workers' interests, weaknesses, and strengths. They can then help them find a job where they will be productive. When people are successful at their job, they are more likely to stay with and enjoy that type of work.
Tips for Returning to Work After a Brain Injury
Although there are many challenges related to returning to work, evidence shows that many people can successfully return to work after a brain injury. Using the right guidelines when returning to work following a brain injury can increase the likelihood of success.
Some options that may help when attempting to return to work following a traumatic brain injury:
- Return to work gradually, a day or two a week
- Returning with shorter hours
- Taking more breaks
- Returning with less workload
Taking up a lesser role, in the beginning, It is important to use compensatory strategies and external aids especially in the workplace such as:
- To-do lists
- Mobile Phones
- Computer Applications
- Wall Charts
- Tape Recorders or Dictaphones
- Electronic Organizers
- Using sticky-backed notes
Resources for Brain Injury Victims
It is extremely important for the survivor of a brain injury to be careful in reentering the workplace whether it is full or part-time and to be fully aware of all of the services and benefits available to him or her including:
- The Brain Injury Association of America (national association) and each state Brain Injury Association have programs helping survivors to reenter the workforce.
- Each state has a vocational rehabilitation department that can help the survivor with retraining in reentering the workforce.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that provides protection to employees and job applicants with disabilities. There are protections under the ADA that the survivor must be aware of that can greatly help him or her in reentering the workforce.
Contact a Rhode Island Brain Injury Lawyer
Traumatic injuries can be caused by devastating car accidents, slip-and-falls, and any other type of forceful impact to the head. When people have received a brain injury because of another person's negligence, they may be able to receive compensation for their injuries. A brain injury attorney in Rhode Island may be helpful in organizing a case to get you the compensation you need.