Returning to work or to an alternative occupation after acquired brain injury (ABI) is essential in helping to restore quality of life. At present, shortages of specialist vocational rehabilitation services and lack of coordinated working across agencies mean that many people are not given the opportunity to fulfil their vocational potential.
To address these issues, the guidelines (published in 2004) examine provision from NHS brain injury services, Jobcentre Plus, social services, further education and independent/voluntary providers, and set out a clear framework for joint working across these agencies. Detailed guidelines are then provided for:
- return to previous employment, education or training
- vocational/employment assessment
- vocational rehabilitation (including work preparation programmes)
- supported employment
- occupational/educational provision
Within each area, guidance is given not only on what type of assessment, intervention or support is appropriate at each stage but also on which agencies and professionals should provide it. Key recommendations for implementing the guidelines are that all the agencies involved review their services and develop local protocols and service links to facilitate access and develop further specialist provision.
The guidelines will be an invaluable resource for all professionals involved in vocational assessment and rehabilitation for people with brain injury, including doctors, neuropsychologists, occupational therapists, work psychologists, disability employment advisors, providers and purchasers of services, and staff working in the voluntary and independent sector.