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How Access to Specialists Impacts Return-to-Work Success

February 29, 2024 from Sunlife

After taking a term of disability leave, returning to work can be difficult for both companies and individuals. To guarantee a seamless return to the workforce, thorough preparation, honest communication, and sufficient support are needed. Recent research from Sunlife illuminates the experiences of Canadian workers who took disability leave and then went back to work, providing important new information on what makes reintegration successful.

The results of Sunlife’s survey, which involved over 500 Canadian businesses and 300 workers who had resumed employment in the previous five years, emphasize the value of accommodation plans and progressive return-to-work (RTW) techniques in easing a smooth transition. Remarkably, just half of the workers said they had an accomodation plan when they returned, but of those who had, 93 percent thought it was extremely helpful.

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of accommodation plans since they give workers the assistance and modifications they need to carry out their jobs well while managing their health conditions. Furthermore, 93% of respondents cited the helpfulness of gradual return to work (RTW) programs, which let employees ease back into their responsibilities at a rate that works for them.

But even with the advantages of phased return to work programs and accommodation arrangements, many workers encountered difficulties upon their return to the workplace. There may be a communication and support gap because 48% of the employees did not discuss their reintegration progress with their managers on a weekly basis. Furthermore, 47% of workers felt under pressure to return to work early, endangering their recuperation and general well-being, and 3 out of 10 employees acknowledged to returning to work feeling ill-prepared.

One of Sunlife’s critical findings involved employee’s access to healthcare providers. Even though 4 out of 10 workers said they could see a primary care physician when necessary, a considerable amount (1 in 5) said they did not have access to psychologists or other crucial treatment providers. A successful return to work was shown to be significantly aided by the availability of care, with 75% of workers citing seeing psychologists or other treatment providers as one of the most helpful parts of their reintegration process.

As a company specializing in IMEs and disability management, Western Medical Assessments is uniquely positioned to facilitate access to physicians and specialists for returning employees. Our extensive network ensures timely access to essential care, while our expertise in developing tailored return-to-work plans supports employers in navigating the transition with confidence. By partnering with WMA, organizations can effectively support their workforce, promoting well-being and productivity during the return-to-work process.


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