Alaska and Her Rehabilitation Plan…Patience Beyond that of a “Normal” Cat Owner!

Okay, another cat blog! Yes, I’m a cat lover and I love all pets and care for all living creatures! I’m not a cat fanatic, it’s just that felines have always been a part of my life since I was a teenager, and I love it! I love cats! I love to write too. I love my work. I love my family. I love my life! I love a lot actually! Amy means beloved, so it’s reciprocated in many ways : ) Read on please! I’d love it!

Cat Plate
Cat Plate

Little did we know that 3 months after Max my manx was murdered in early 2002 by something in the street, (I don’t love creatures who kill pets and on the other hand I don’t like it at all when my pets kill creatures), a tiny meow would emit from our neighbor’s garden. Oh my, this long haired kitten was awesome! Felix! Welcome! (Okay, this blog is not about Felix today!)

Max, (nope this blog not about you either, meooowww) a dearly beloved yet wild cat, found me ~1987 when I was renting the basement of a brick home in Windsor Heights (it had a pool in the back yard.) Speaking of cat claws!…A word of advice from a long timer cat owner, (counselors shouldn’t give advice, but in this case, listen to me!): Don’t think it’d be fun to give a cat a ride on an air mattress in a pool. Trust me. Sure looked like I had open heart surgery!

kitten-3Now, here’s a blog devoted to Alaska. She’s the cat who strutted on down the street one Spring evening in 2012 (following my son Jacob and his friend Josh) directly into the house and to a bowl full of cat food. Score!

I recall saying “Wow I’ve always wanted a white cat!” She’s all white with beautiful eyes (I love the green one; no, I love the blue one!). Oh dear, upon her arrive she was a very thin stray! And oh dear, oh my, oh dear, I would have no idea what trouble she would end up causing over the next year or two (…..) you really don’t want to know…..it involved lots of $$$$ over time (furnishings….another word of advice regarding leather furniture and cat claws). More costs $$$ credited to this white cat was the vet bills due to her actions toward the existing female feline (my love of all cat loves SamiJo.)

The cat looked like a kitten, however the excellent vet (Dr. Michael Forret) said she was about 7 months old when she decided to ditch being a stray and chose a home. She was hungry and dirty! Even her ears where filthy. Jacob named her and she has a middle name too, but I don’t think I should let you on to that just yet!

Alaska Our Putty TattyI rehabilitated Alaska TF into one big healthy white cat!

Part of Alaska’s rehabilitation included a lot of touching. She didn’t like being touched much, probably because she had not experienced much touch. She still to this day has to be touched only upon her terms….but I like to make her think she loves being petted which she really does but tries to hide it (cats).

kitten-in-toteAJ & AK bonding!

ArinJune figured out a way to carry her around in a tote bag (and to this day I often find her lounging in one of these she found!) to feel safe. With ongoing rehab,  regular vet care, good food and water, and lots and lots of love and attention, she thrives! Treats are nice too!

AK is much calmer of late into her more mature cat years. She loves the freedom to do what felines do (….sleep…and read above [hunt]…). She continues to be “a wild one” however and she herself does her share of “killing and delivering….” But, how can I stop a cat from that? Her hunting is actually of value to where we live because of an unkept property or two in the hood. But the dismembered gifts by the back door, come on! Enough. I have purchased her a new collar with a loud bell that will hopefully help plus she only goes outside about once or twice a day.

2012-09-23 13.29.36

Alaska helping me on a case!

Good communication and problem-solving skills are required in order to counsel others. I truly in my role as a rehab counselor, want to be empathetic and I want to reveal my desire to help people fulfill their goals. Counselors need good listening skills, compassion, and patience while working with individuals who have suffered serious injury and disability.

2012-09-23-13-29-43

She found this case interesting and pauses to reflect!

I know I have patience beyond that of a normal cat owner! Thank you my felines for teaching me how to listen and show my true self.

If I can help you help your client with a life care plan that includes vocational rehabilitation, please let me know!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Happy 19th Anniversary Vocational Resources Plus

Vocational Resources Plus LLC Celebrates the beginning of 19 years in business!

September is a special month for me. My birthday is on September 15 and I started my own business on September 15…back in 1963 and 1999 respectively!

Please read on for information on Vocational Resources Plus LLC. I offer life care planning as well!Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers an array of vocational rehabilitation services with a focus on placement.

Vocational rehabilitation is a set of services designed to facilitate the return to work process (also known as placement) for individuals following a serious accident or illness that disrupted employment.

Placement is the bottom line of vocational rehabilitation, and therefore is the most in demand service.  Placement can be simply defined as finding suitable employment. Continue to read on for more detail on Vocational Resources Plus LLC’s placement services and procedures.Vocational Resources Plus LLC designs unique placement services to return-to-work problems that arise on workers’ compensation, personal injury and disability cases.

The objective of each placement assignment is to research key details on an individual’s employability. This information provides the base to plan for courses of action. Action is presented in the form of service delivery, case management, and reporting services, or whatever is needed to bring facts on board.

The goal of each service is to identify strategies that are proven to achieve positive employment related results. The objectives set forth in a service plan will effectively place the person back into his or her working world.  This ‘pathway to work’ expedites resolution, details the scope of occupational loss, and ultimately addresses the monetary figure of claim that is in litigation.~Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers comprehensive placement services to address labor market conditions, workforce issues, and attributes of specific occupations. The value of designing a service specifically based on the individual’s personal background, work history, transferable skills, knowledge and abilities, coupled with his or her interests, aptitudes, personality factors along with various vocational and physical attributes is higher than the actual cost of providing the service.

The case is covered carefully while the individual and all representatives associated with the claim are provided with specific details of the situation to better understand the priorities of successful rehabilitation. All services are documented and a narrative report is useful to evaluate the claimant’s rehabilitation potential, to determine the extent of loss of job, or pay, or of employability.

Specific details on level of cooperation to secure employment, worker qualifications compared to existing employment opportunities, and compliance regarding recommended therapeutic intervention or physical exercise are a few examples that are assessed for the individual to adjust to their situation.Vocational Resources Plus is often called upon to help when a case is in litigation or has the potential to become overly problematic and costly. Referrals are welcomed from attorneys and employers!  The strategy of assigning your difficult cases to a knowledgeable consultant saves time and reduces long-term effects of any claim.  I’m here to help!

MISSION STATEMENT

~ Vocational Resources Plus LLC commits to helping with the needs of its clientele by providing consulting services that exceed the standards of practice expected in the field of vocational rehabilitation.

 COMPREHENSIVE JOB PLACEMENT OFFERED THROUGH 

Vocational Resources Plus LLC

Job placement is a professional procedure. The purpose is to assist the job seeker to find a job matching his or her knowledge base, skill sets, abilities, work capacities, interests and aptitudes, as well as needs for location, work scheduling, level of earnings, benefits, plus more!

Comprehensive placement on average can take 4 weeks – 6 months (based on available employment opportunities and client cooperation). Placement is broken down into 3 phases: Information Gathering, Accessing the Labor Market and Placement. Other services such as Job Seeking Skills Training, Vocational Counseling, and Outsourcing are available on an as needed, individualized basis.

Within the first few weeks of placement, the placement specialist may be able to discern if success at obtaining employment is likely or not. All case activities, research and results of efforts are reported. Expert testimony is available.

Phase I ~ Information Gathering

This phase is time intensive and involves meeting the client, orientation, paperwork, appraisal of qualifications and transferable skills, and participating in other preliminary processes. The individual’s skill set is matched with existing employment opportunities. Resumes are prepared, reference building is performed, specific, information details are gathered and goals are set.

Timeframe: 1-3 weeks. The placement specialist can spend from 10-15 hours per week on preliminary processes. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

Phase II ~ Accessing the Labor Market

This phase involves designing a flexible marketing strategy to assist the client in establishing informational interviews and job interviews. Results are evaluated to help make decisions and to clarify career choices. It involves identifying and contacting businesses in appropriate markets and industries to assist with finding adequate profiles of persons to meet marketing needs and job opening requirements.

Timeframe: Commonly starts in the 3rd week and continues as long as feasible opportunities are identified, up to approximately the 6th week. The placement specialist averages 5-10 hours per week. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

 Phase III – Placement

When the client has sufficient opportunities available and is cooperative with placement procedures, this phase unfolds. When the client is placed, follow-up occurs at appropriate increments. If the client is uncooperative or if excessive barriers do not allow for a successful transition into the workforce, other Vocational Resources Plus, LLC services are available or referrals can be made.

Timeframe: Starts at approximately 3 or 4 weeks into the assignment, depending on the client’s situation and continues until placement occurs. A minimum of one month of post-placement services are offered. The placement specialist averages 1-5 hours a week. The placement client spends as much time as necessary to support this phase.

Thanks for reading….now give me a call!  There’s a sample employment packet the client receives, it’s located to the right on my website. Take a look around at all the resources available! I have even more to share!

515-282-7753 or email VocResources@msn.com

    lcpresourcesplus.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Vocational Evaluators: 3 Roles in 1. Germs, Competitors, and a Shredder Help!

In my Iowa State Days and into the Fall of 1994, one course I recall quite well was Microbiology. Here I am, a new mother, messing around in a laboratory with germs. Okay, microbiology is better defined as “The branch of biology that deals with microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms.” Luckily I had a smart lab partner who knew what needed to be done with the microscopes, dyes, stains, aseptic procedures, identification, etc.. My partner helped me to learn and helped me to keep myself and my new baby at home safe from bad germs!

My Grade for the Microbiology Course ~ B+

I believe my grade proves I took the course seriously and I tried my hardest! This leads me to discuss the topic of the serious nature of my role and function as a vocational evaluator.

Because there is a need for vocational evaluation services to persons with or without disabilities, I continually expand my professional capacities in these areas:

1)   Vocational/Career Expert     2)   Disability Specialist     3)   Educator

A Vocational Evaluator has 3 roles in 1!

I work with a wide variety of people and provide a mix of services to improve and expand my 3 in 1 role as a vocational evaluator.

I’ve come across several “competitors” vocational evaluation reports and found they served the best role shredded in the bottom of a recycling bin. Of course, I learn from reading them and can apply data from them, only if it makes sense to me!

In fact I’ve read two reports on two separate people by one vocational evaluator. Boy they read similarly! These reports were canned, used computer generated data, laced with irrelevant statistics, tossed with strange jargon, citing outdated sources, sprinkled with wording that all sounded the same.  Both reports concluded the same thing: this person is totally and permanently disabled from all work. Wow! Was I missing something? Were there germs lurking?

The “competitor” reports I’m referring to did not contain important information (that I include in my individualized reports) such as:

  • detailed information about the workers’ vocational background
  • an analysis of the person’s transferable skills
  • what type of work the person is interested in
  • a look into current employment opportunities that match those interests and skills
  • a review of reasonable accommodations and/or other ways to perform work efficiently
  • real life job placement perspectives and actual comments from local employers
  • recommendations for skill enhancement or ways to learn a new skill
  • offering of job placement or referral to community sources for help!

The information I include is based on the context surrounding the individual and the goal of the evaluation.

Poorly written reports get shredded!

I’ve performed hundreds of vocational evaluations (and have shredded many, too)! When I combine my educational abilities and career counseling expertise while providing disability specific resources when needed, my goal as a good rehabilitation counselor is fulfilled!

I’ve posted several times on the subject of vocational evaluations ~ which happens to be one of my favorites! ~ Please take a look around my blog and let me know how I can help you.

Contact me at 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

 

Employability, Hireability and Placeability ~ Got Ability? Need Proof?

To continue on with my post on getting level during divorce, I’m offering working definitions of 3 of my favorite ability descriptors which are Employability, Hireability and Placeability.

Although my vocational assessment and evaluation assignments span a variety of jurisdictions and are designed to meet referral needs, the concepts of Employability, Hireability and Placeability remain constructively intact.

~ Employability ~ Can try to prove

employabilitySimply put, employability is about being capable of getting and keeping fulfilling work. It refers to the capacity to function in a job and to be able to move between jobs the person could actually do considering personal circumstances. There may be an overlay of disability, physical or mental limitations, or specific work-life needs that come into play when determining a person’s employability.

Employability depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities and how these assets are used within the context which work is performed or is sought. To evaluate employability, it helps to break the concept into manageable pieces. I take a look at the skills, attitudes and behaviors the person has developed through their work background and a variety of other life experiences.

To know if those skills, attitudes and behaviors are in demand, I then research and survey the person’s labor market to identify jobs that match the person’s background and capacities.

It works best for me to highlight the person’s skills and capacities in the best possible light! Skills are transferable regardless of disability, especially with creative adaptation and accommodation.

In addition, if there are avenues to match the person more closely with jobs (eg: short term training), further vocational research is performed with the results offered in a helpful way.

~ Hireability ~ Cannot prove

Hireability

The term hireability is a way of describing the likelihood an individual might get hired for a job they are physically and psychologically capable of performing.

The most prevalent method of hiring is the interview, therefore, it is always helpful to view how a person presents their skills. The individual’s presentation is critiqued, job searching skills are assessed and other issues are addressed relative to the potential to attain employment in various environments.

Further, hireability is about a person’s soft skills, including their style of communication, level of self-confidence, initiative, tact, and motivation. All these elements are important to a business who has hiring needs!

Throughout my placement experiences, I find businesses look to hire individuals who are responsible, trainable, friendly and able to work on teams. Reliable transportation, good references, a neat appearance, and a pleasant personality are commonly preferred.

Throughout my placement experiences, I also understand often is not necessary to assess an individual for hireability, and to rely on the person’s natural ability to succeed without the need to administer a “test”.

~ Placeability ~ Can try to prove

Placeability is the likelihood that a person will actually access, secure and maintain work within his or her labor market, usually in a specific job or occupation. Placeability is affected by labor market conditions (outside of an individual’s control) and is partly about how in-demand the individual’s transferable skills are and how well she or he can present those skills.

The dynamics of placeability include the availability of jobs in a certain geographic area; employer attitudes and policies, the evaluee’s age and culture; and specific occupational hiring requirements. I’ve had many years of work experience placing people and there are numerous variables!

If the person has barriers to employment, for example a functional limitation that would benefit from accommodation, resources are discussed to avoid unnecessary conflicts in the person’s working world. Please realize all functional limitations are restrictions but NOT all restrictions are functional limitations!

Here’s another rather important variable: 

~ Willingness to Work ~ Can definitely prove!

I have testified to this several times. If you are a job seeker and need proof that you are validly looking for reliable work, let me know if I can help. 

Thank youThe bottom line for any business usually involves making and/or saving money! Are you doing that? If you are employed, yes you are! I thank you! And I’m sure your business thanks you too.

Need a vocational evaluation consultation? Call me 515-282-7753 or vocresources@gmail.com

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Bella The Working Dog ~ She Always Needs a Job To Do

Last evening Bella romped around the public pool during the annual doggie dive. I’ve blogged in the past how I feel asking an evaluee / client about pet ownership is important as it tells me a lot about their lifestyle and what they value, especially if I actually get to meet the pet(s).

Clearly, dog owners take great pride in their well-behaved beloved family member. But, when the dog decides to “be bad”, often owners end up looking a lot worse than the dog.

Bella at Doggie Dive

Our Sweet Bella ~ the Aussie on the Right!

Bella (Izabella Mae) is a good dog! As a “working dog” Australian Shepherds always need a job to do! She loves to work! Do you feel you are similar to a working dog?!?

Bella loves to herd! And herd whatever alive is near! And of course she barks! Loudly! And I can take it too personally, especially when I think she is excessive. But barking is her way of communicating. And as an Aussie owner, I need to understand her style of communication which affects her behavior. This involves studying as much as I can about her doggie lifestyle and what she values. (Even though I have been doing so for 7 years now you’d think I’d understand her barking and how to control it….! I try!)

Bella mostly barks at loud objects (fireworks) and fast moving vehicles (flying down the alley in “her” backyard) and various unknown people or critters who “invade” our space. Since we live in the city there’s activity everywhere! She doesn’t bark at dogs or cats (raccoons, yes!). She does not nip or bite at other creatures (correction, she has attacked wild bunny rabbits…). She is a lover. And a human magnet especially to children. She has emotions! She is silly. She is affectionate. And yes, owning her costs lots of time, money and attention.

 

doggie-dive1

But Bella wasn’t the dog who led to a 20 minute time-out from the pool due to a “feces” incident! It was fun to see all these animals and their owners (when I left the counter clicker said our exit was the #94 dog to have paid admission!)

Thanks for reading and be sure to treat your pet with the respect she deserves! Dogs have rights too ya know!

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

350 days of leave! Work Ethic…Brag About It!

Okay, my last post for now on Randy (five consecutive Mondays is a bit excessive…)  Randy  is into his 20th year teaching for the Des Moines Public School District. He thinks he has around 350 days of sick leave accrued. He says you can only bank 250. I don’t know what that means…but I do know that’s a lot of days. I can’t recall when he’s ever called in sick (I have made him take a personal day……is that ethical Amy?)  Oops sorry.

Welcome Back

 

This is really not Randy, but he does wear just as goofy ties.

Here is an exercise that you can do to help you describe your work ethic in an interview. Trust me, it will help you shine during the interview! You may want to wear a shirt like this to your interview! (That’s a joke.)

Work Ethic Tshirt

This is not Randy either, but I could superimpose a head…naw

Back in July 2012, I blogged about how to answer interview questions using a great approach ~ the STAR method. It really is helpful to be thorough when coming up with answers. 

Rehearse your answers out loud. Practice saying them over and over and over. You’ll be more comfortable during the actual interview experience. Good luck!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

 

Randy and Abe’s Work…Pretty Impressive!

Okay, even more about Randy. He’s starting to get a bigger head. But he’s still not reading my blogs unless I remind him….what about you my reader, sign up for my posts and they will be emailed to you. : )

Randy has taught the wonderful and well-behaved youth in our community (hee hee) for over 20 years as a teacher for the Des Moines Public School District. He teaches at Casady Alternative Center. The goal is for the students to earn enough credits to either return to their original high school on time to graduate, or to graduate from Casady. Either way, it takes a lot of effort on the kids parts….oh yea and Randy and his fellow teacher pals to accomplish this goal.

At times in all our jobs we must work with, coordinate with, consult with, etc., and/or try to encourage, motivate, teach etc.,…..people who seem to not really care about a project, the subject matter, finding a job, caring for their own bodies, any goals…..on and on and on. You get my point. How do we continue to take pride in our work when it would be easier to throw in the towel?

It goes back to sustaining the pride you take in your work ethic.

And it helps to add humor into your approach with people who may be difficult to work with.  Randy has been known to dress up as characters when he taught a history lesson (a subject often known to be of boring material to youngens…some youngens…not you Taylor Prochnow!)

For example, he has dressed as Mark Twain to teach about (ahh, I don’t really know); and as Abe Lincoln (to teach about Abe Lincoln I guess.) He’ll have to fill the parenthesis in later….and in consideration that he is not at work today because of President’s Day, we’ll see if I can track him down.

Abe

I also need to track down a picture of Randy dressed as Abe

His favorite president I do believe is Abe Lincoln (or is it Richard Nixon?). Randy tends to have an interest in most presidents and really has a good grasp on what they accomplished, or didn’t, during their terms.  I think he likes Jimmy Carter too (I do.)

I often hung out with Abe and his son Tad during my lunch break when I worked for the state.

Okay, to the point of this blog about work ethic. I am pretty certain Abe had a fantastic work ethic and took great pride in his work.  I take great pride in my work and so does Randy. I hope you do too!

Recall from my previous blog that I believe you get your work ethic from your parents. Yet, what about the person who didn’t have great role models yet still exhibit qualities and traits of a hard worker/a person with good work ethic. Here’s an article that will help you grasp the concept of taking pride in your work from the get go.

I’ve found that it can be easy to exceed the expectations of others simply by being someone who is reliable, on-time, diligent and professional. I think these are all hallmarks of people with a strong work ethic.

Here’s some questions to ask and answer yourself about your work ethic:

Attendance ~ Are you dependable, stable and willing to take responsibility for your actions?

Reliability ~ Are you hard working and conscientious about the quality of your work?

Rules of Compliance ~ Are you likely to obey company policies and procedures?

Trustworthiness ~ Do you feel you are trustworthy and trusting of others?

I hope you feel good about answering these questions. When I interview people and find they have a good work ethic (and I often do…it runs deep here in good ole’ Iowa), I know that the person has what employers look for when they hire.

I found a couple shots of Randy and his buddy Abe (know where this is located?)

Good Friends
Good Friends
He Kissed Me Back!
He Kissed Me Back!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

What Do Rehabilitation Counselors Do?

Rehabilitation counselors are the only professional counselors educated and trained specifically to serve individuals with disabilities.

This statement and the following information is provided by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification scope of practice: 

Image result for scope of practice rehab counselor

Rehabilitation counselors assist individuals with physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities to achieve their personal, career and independent living goals in the most integrated setting possible.  We engage in a counseling process which includes communication, goal setting, and beneficial growth or change through self-advocacy, psychological, vocational, social and behavioral interventions.

Rehabilitation counselors utilize many different techniques and modalities, including assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning, counseling, case management, and advocacy to modify environmental and attitudinal barriers, placement-related services, and utilization of rehabilitation technology.

Rehabilitation counselors utilize a systematic process which assists persons with physical, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities to achieve their personal, career, and independent living goals in the most integrated setting possible through the application of the counseling process. The counseling process involves communication, goal setting, and beneficial growth or change through self-advocacy, psychological, vocational, social, and behavioral interventions.

The specific techniques and modalities utilized within this rehabilitation counseling process may include, but are not limited to:

* assessment and appraisal;

* diagnosis and treatment planning;

* career counseling;

* individual and group counseling treatment interventions focused on facilitating adjustment to the medical and psychosocial impacts of disability;

* referral;

* case management and service coordination;

* providing consultation and access to rehabilitation technology.

* interventions to remove environmental, employment and attitudinal barriers;

* program evaluation and research;

* consultation services among multiple parties and regulatory systems;

* job development and placement services, including assistance with employment and job accommodations

And of course, network with others who are also in the helping professions!

Connect with me, Amy Botkin, MS, CRC 

 

 

 

Vocational Case Management Services

Vocational case management is an integral component of the rehabilitation process to return the injured worker to suitable, gainful employment.

Services are available to evaluate the rehabilitation potential of the claimant, to provide counseling for disability-related concerns, and when appropriate, to access the labor market and identify job placement opportunities are available.

The variety of services available are useful for insurance carriers, employers and attorneys to evaluate the rehabilitation potential of the claimant, to provide counseling for disability-related concerns, and when appropriate, to access the labor market and identify job placement opportunities.
Comprehensive private vocational rehabilitation concentrates on attainment of pre-injury wage considering the worker’s skills, aptitudes, interests and physical capabilities.

The benefits of utilizing vocational case management are numerous:
• Claim dollars for both medical and vocational payment decrease
• Relevant medical and vocational issues of the claim are identified and solved in a timely fashion
• Problems associated with return-to-work are identified and solved in a timely fashion
• Creates a positive relationship between the insurance company, the claimant and the attorney
• Documents all case activity, to include objective detail of medical issues, vocational goals, behavioral interactions, and financial aspects of the situation
• Assists in decision making based on specific recommendations
• Controls the direction of the file, lowers industrial disability loss, and reduces long-term financial responsibility
• Encourages and supports the injured worker to seek and obtain suitable work
• Proves employment options and permanent job opportunities are available

Vocational Case Management

Vocational case management is an integral component of the rehabilitation process to return the injured worker to suitable, gainful employment. For the best efficiency and efficacy, services should begin as soon as possible. Early intervention is a good practice, especially for small businesses.

If early intervention wasn’t established, once the physician releases the individual for return-to-work or rules out return-to-work with the same job and same employer, case management should kick into gear.

Make early intervention simple….once a worker files a claim, call a vocational case manager into action.

Here’s to help!      515-778-0634