Step 7 of 10 in getting ready to return to work:
A return to work plan needs to be individualized, incorporate the feedback of all involved (survivor, employer and healthcare provider), and have flexibility.
Healthcare providers can play an integral role in the creation of a formal return to work plan by:
- discussing a time frame for return to work. For example, in a gradual return to work plan, discuss how many hours and for how long the graduated plan will be. Of note, a graduated return to work plan is the most common and effective way to ease a survivor’s return to their workplace.
- defining the survivor’s restrictions and limitations over time.
- recommending workplace accommodations. This can include exploring with cancer survivors job accommodation ideas to help with their transition to work and optimize their productivity. While decisions on how to adjust for restrictions lie with the employer, healthcare providers can provide helpful suggestions and recommendations.
- creating a plan for monitoring the return to work process, including after resuming their full work schedule.
A return to work plan should be given to your patient in writing so that they can give the document to their supervisor and any other staff member who can help them with their return. For more ideas on developing a return to work plan and a healthcare provider’s role see Key questions to guide a return to work plan and Cancer and Work Return to Work Planner.