Step 6 of 11 in getting ready to return to work:
Taking an active role in your vocational rehabilitation such as using self-management approaches, accessing rehabilitation, counseling and educational programs support, and educating yourself on what to expect will help you feel more empowered, confident to capitalize on your inner and external resources, and improve your chances of a successful return to work. Too often, cancer survivors feel that the return to work process is not within their control which can make them feel vulnerable. In some cases, when survivors are receiving disability benefits (such as long-term disability), they may feel that case managers from insurance companies are pressuring them to get back to work. If you actively engage in activities to improve your work-related abilities, case managers may actually feel reassured that you are moving forward and may be less likely to pressure you. In fact, taking control can include asking your healthcare and insurance provider and, in some cases, your employer for services that will help you such as vocational rehabilitation, exercise programs, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy.
Taking control can also involve explore and use services that are available through:
- cancer centres
- other healthcare organizations
- community agencies
- government departments agencies (for example, through Service Canada)
- the private sector (services through insurance, employee and family assistance, or extended health or self-pay)
- online resources
- print resources
- emotional support available virtually or by phone
Sometimes services or resources are not cancer-specific but can still be helpful in addressing the short or late effects of cancer and treatments such as services for those coping with psychological challenges, brain injury, pain, amputations, or sleep challenges, etc. that affect workability. Also, there may be services available to you to help with your vocational rehabilitation and employment related legal concerns.