Retraining: When To Shift The Goal Posts?

Dr. David Colvin, trained in orthopaedic surgery in Perth. David’s specialty is knee and shoulder surgery and sports injuries.


During the recovery period, the patient, doctor, employer, insurer and rehabilitation provider need to agree on a rehabilitation goal. That is, to determine whether the patient is likely to return to their previous occupation or whether, as a result of the injury, there may be some permanent restrictions, which would prevent them from returning to that occupation. In the setting of permanent restrictions, a decision may be made that retraining for an alternative occupation is required. There are avenues to access funding for retraining through the workers’ compensation scheme.
Making a realistic decision about the rehabilitation goal fairly early in the recovery process is critically important for you as the injured worker. If you spend twelve months attempting to get back to a high demand manual job and ultimately you are unsuccessful, then it is possible to find that you have wasted twelve months, your claim is closed, and you have no job to go back to.

RetrainingA rehabilitation provider may be appointed to your claim to assist you in identifying alternative long-term occupations. They will help you clarify your skill set, and what occupations might be appropriate for you. Equally important, try to identify what qualifications or skills you currently lack which could increase your employment prospects. The time available to you while recovering from an injury or surgery can be an excellent opportunity to acquire further qualifications. If you have a high demand physical job, it is important to bear in mind that very few people continue in those occupations until retirement age. Regardless of how your recovery is progressing from the current problem, it is always good to have a fall back plan for the long term. Now is the time to turn your thoughts to what job you might do later in your career.

You are best positioned to understand what jobs you would like to be doing in the longer term and what positions would provide you with satisfaction and the salary you require. Many people fail to realise that there is no barrier to looking for a new job while you have an active workers’ compensation claim. Your claim remains open even if you find appropriate alternative employment for yourself.

Throughout the entire claim management period, remember that one of your top priorities is to have a meaningful job to go back to at the end of your recovery.

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Orthopaedic surgeon Perth

About Perth Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr David Colvin

Dr David Colvin, a Perth orthopaedic surgeon with a special interest in shoulder and knee injuries, understands that a painful joint or a joint that doesn’t function properly, can have a huge impact on your quality of life.