Find out more about rehabilitation after an injury.

BodyTonic's Marcus Burgoyne often massages University staff after they have had an injury.
BodyTonic's Marcus Burgoyne often massages University staff after they have had an injury.

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation may be defined as the process whereby a person who has suffered personal injury regains or acquires the skills necessary to optimise physical, mental, vocational and social functionality.

The Accident Compensation Act 2001 requires the individual to take responsibility for their own rehabilitation and the legislation is clear that the employer does not accept sole responsibility. The role of the employer is to help facilitate the rehabilitation process.

For further information you can refer to our Claims Management and Rehabilitation Manual.

Objectives of rehabilitation

Our objectives are:

  • To have a positive impact on employee relations, morale and the self-esteem of injured employees, by supporting them in an early return to work
  • To minimise work accident injury costs through early intervention and managed return to work programmes.

Each person’s injury and circumstance will be unique and WorkAon case managers will develop a specific individual rehabilitation plan (IRP) with the injured person (and other parties involved in the recovery) to assist in identifying the:

  • Injured person’s entitlement to rehabilitation
  • Desired long-term case management outcomes for a particular case
  • Immediate case management objectives
  • Specific actions needed to achieve the outcome and objectives.

Regular meetings will be held to discuss the IRP plan, update it or address any concerns. This occurs on a monthly basis.

However, the WorkAon case manager can be contacted at any time to review these.

Treatment and rehabilitation

Type  Examples
Medical Visits to the GP, physiotherapist, specialist, X-ray or surgery
Social Help at home, personal care, equipment to support independence 
Return to work Workstation assessment and a graduated return to work plan under Occupational Therapist (OT) supervision

Return to work

The employee’s direct manager is responsible for developing an appropriate list of alternative duties for staff returning to work following an injury. In assessing the appropriate alternative duties, the employer representative and injured employee will take into account:

  • The types of alternative duties available
  • The skills of the injured person
  • The medical restrictions
  • Any special aids required
  • Any potential hazards
  • Consultation with all stakeholders has occurred.

In certain cases an occupational therapist can be engaged to assist with this process to provide independent expert guidance. This can be discussed with the Health, Safety and Wellbeing manager and the WorkAon case manager. Contact details: The work injury claim process.

A gradual return to work programme may be initiated to ease the injured staff member back into the workplace. Due to the nature of injury, pain, discomfort, incapacity and the length of time absent, it is sensible and practicable to ease back into the work environment in a controlled manner.

Vocational independence

Sometimes, due to the injury and incapacity of the injured person, it is not feasible or medically sustainable for a person to return to their pre-injury role.

Where this situation arises, a decision may be made to start the vocational independence process.

The process

This comprehensive process assesses what future work roles the injured claimant can undertake based on their skill levels and medical/injury capacity. It also identifies whether the person is fit for work or requires additional skill sets to achieve vocational independence.

Information for managers

Weekly monitoring of injured staff members

As a manager or supervisor, you are required to maintain weekly contact with your injured employees during their absence and ongoing rehabilitation. Phone calls or face-to-face visits are the preferred means of communicating.

It has been demonstrated that maintaining frequent contact assists with motivation, sets out clear expectations and addresses perceived concerns or anxieties. 

The weekly monitoring sheet is there to record the contact between you and the injured employee, and the status of the injury. This contact is extremely important for keeping both parties informed of progress, identifying any concerns and providing support to the injured employee in order to assist their recovery and eventual return to work.

Send a copy of the monitoring sheet to the each month until the case is closed for review and audit requirements. You can also contact the manager if you have any concerns or queries.

Contact details

Document Control
Version: 1.0
Last Updated: Sep 2020
Next Review: Sep 2023
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing