“Working Back to “Normal”” – Redford Court
On the 12th of October 2016, the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) held a seminar at the Devonshire House Hotel in Liverpool. The event was sponsored by Irvings Law.
The seminar highlighted the importance of work for people with brain injuries.
The seminar was an inspiring event with several speakers presenting on the topic of vocational rehabilitation from various angles. 
It was great to see so many people interested in talking about vocational rehabilitation and how it can benefit people suffering from a brain injury. Only the night before a colleague tweeted to me saying how important it is to raise the profile of vocational rehabilitation.
Vocational rehabilitation is defined as anything that can help people to return to work, and it has many different aspects. 
Gary Colving from Irvings Law told us a story of a client who benefited from volunteering. Having routines and life purpose for this client improved his general wellbeing. 
Mike, a brain injury client, spoke about his passion for gardening. His work placement has helped to improve Mike’s weekly routines and gave him a sense of achievement.
Clive Langman, lecturer in vocational rehabilitation, highlighted the fact that someone with a mild brain injury may never work again, whist another person with severe brain injury may be able to return to work. He highlighted that every client is different and has a different capacity for work. 
The presentations at the seminar delivered the same message as my talk “Vocational Assessment – Focusing on Abilities”: in vocational rehabilitation, there is a great need to recognise a person’s strengths and function – physical, cognitive and psychological – when planning a return to work. 
It is simply not enough to base any return to work support on the client’s diagnosis and their limitations. Most of the injured clients would have many skills that can be used in a different job role. 
Moreover, moving away from the diagnosis and evaluating the client’s function and abilities is crucial for Career Redirection. Without this strong approach, identifying alternative careers for injured individuals is not possible. 

Katya Halsall, Director
Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant
Functional Evaluator 
Sickness Absence Manager 
VOC-REHAB UK / Eclectic Human Solutions Ltd
T:   01942 375 880
M:  07854 174 683
Facebook: Eclectic Human Solutions
Twitter: @HalsallKatya / @EHS_VocRehab

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