Long term conditions – How to support your staff
As you may or may not know, we specialise in helping people who have long term conditions either get back to work or remain at work. We provide clinical support for people to improve their day to day functioning and help them to self-manage their symptoms so that they can continue to work.
Recently, we have noticed a growing anxiety amongst the people we are supporting about whether they will contract Covid -19 given their underlying health conditions. This is completely understandable. We have been supporting people to successfully manage these anxieties and discussing their home working options
However, having now caught up with quite a few patients during the lockdown period, we have noticed that some employers are advising those with long term conditions not to work particularly if their workplace remains open. It is important that people’s health is protected, however, alternatives to office based working are not being discussed. So, people, after having transitioned back into work following absence, are technically back off work again. Employers are doing this in good faith and are following guidelines about remaining at home. However, it is really important that options for working from home are considered and if not, that consideration is given as to how to ensure the work rehabilitation process continues rather than stalls over the 12 week social isolation period. This is a time for creative thinking and out of the box solutions for remaining at work or vocationally rehabilitating, whilst at home in isolation.
We have been advising patients who are unable to go into the workplace to have discussions with their employers about accessing work activities from home. As an example, we are supporting someone who is a Vet so is unable to go into the workplace and has been advised to remain at home for 12 weeks. There is no reason why this individual can’t do telephone triage and administration work but his employer is advising him not to work. We have advised him to speak with his manager regarding this issue and will follow up in the coming weeks to discuss the next steps. In another case, where working from home is not an option, we have been supporting the individual with physical and cognitive activity akin to being at work so that they maintain and gradually improve their functioning as they would if they were at work. An example would be an employer supporting CPD activities, e.g. online training.
Employers, if this situation is resonating with you and you need some advice, contact us here. Alternatively, you could attend our interactive ‘Up for discussion’ Q&A webinar series, where you can ask experienced clinicians questions you might have around long term conditions and other topical work-related themes. We want to help you and your staff during this very difficult time.
Our specialist clinicians are highly trained to provide a truly integrated service that results in health behaviour change and optimum work capability.