HR | Atlantic - Positive Change at Work

Physician’s Role in Patients Return to Work

May 28, 2012

Stethoscope ImageThe Canadian Medical Association published a policy regarding physician’s role in helping patients return to work after illness or injury.

The policy recognized that:

  • “The physician should facilitate the patient’s return to work by encouraging communication between the patient and his or her employer early in treatment and rehabilitation
  • The physician should be familiar with the family and community support systems available to the patient. The physician should also be aware of the patient’s general responsibilities at home and at work.
  • Early in the course of treatment, the physician should discuss expected healing and recovery times, as well as the positive role of an early, graduated increase in activity on physical and psychological healing.
  • The physician should identify and address potential obstacles to the recovery of function and RTW as soon as possible.
  • The physician should be knowledgeable about and use, when appropriate, the services of a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals, who can be helpful in facilitating the patient’s safe RTW.
  • Ultimately, the employer determines the type of work available and whether a physician’s recommendations concerning an employee’s RTW can be accommodated. In recognition of the employee-employer relationship, physicians should encourage their patients to take an active role in and to take responsibility for RTW and communicate directly and regularly with their employees.”

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