Ongoing communication with employers through all stages of recovery is critical to return to work preparation. As the return grows closer, it is crucial that all parties understand the employee’s current functional abilities and limitations. This understanding will help the patient and employer plan for the return to work, such as readying the workplace. Usually, the decision that a survivor is ready to return to work is made by the patient’s doctor after a consultation and an assessment of the patient.
A typical way physicians and employers communicate is through physician notes, the completion of forms and the exchange of letters. A physician will likely be asked to complete a letter indicating that the patient is indeed ready. They can also be asked to complete a “fitness to return to work” form indicating that the patient is ready to return on a specified date. On this form, it is helpful to itemize the patient’s restrictions and limitations so that the employer is aware of what accommodations they should plan.