Your role in getting the injured worker back to work

Health professionals play an important role when returning a patient to work through evaluating and certifying their capacity for work, arranging treatment and helping set a date for return to work.

With guidance from their health professional on how to prevent recurrence and re-injury, a worker is more than three times as likely to return to work. Your knowledge and understanding of the health benefits of good work can assist your patients return to safe and sustainable work. To facilitate the recovery and safe return to work of your patient you should:

  • consider your patient's injury and illness when assessing their capacity for work. Talk about what the patient can do at work and how to overcome any possible barriers. Be sure to reiterate that returning to work is an important part of recovery.
  • talk to your patient about the many health benefits of returning to work and the risks of not getting back to work. Set realistic goals with your patient about their return to work, including an expected date of return. 
  • upgrade the patient's activity over time to progress their overall recovery
  • clearly state your patient's capacity to work on the medical certificate and remember to include any restrictions, where necessary.
  • communicate with your patient's employer about their capacity to work and what duties the employer has that could form part of a suitable duties plan (preferably while the patient is with you).
  • advise your patient about avoiding relapse and re-injury.
  • review the employer's return to work plan with your patient to ensure it matches the certified capacity as suggested on the medical certificate.
  • review your patient's progress and, if needed, give recommendations for support services to help them recover and get back to work.

Last updated
09 November 2016