Returning to work or school after a burn injury can be an important part of the recovery process. Encouraging survivors to return to a familiar routine provides benefits such as social interaction and confidence. While the vast majority of survivors eventually do return to work or school, burn specific factors such as TBSA and length of hospitalization often impact each individual’s experience. Returning to work/school may lead to anxiety, particularly for survivors with a history of psychiatric illness. Survivors and their caregivers may worry about challenges related to both the physical environment and the emotional experience of reintegration. Fortunately, resources are available to facilitate return to work and school activities. Many employers and states have programs to assist individuals who wish to return to work which offer services such as assistance with accommodations, work conditioning programs, and vocational rehabilitation. Additionally, helpful resources are available for providing survivors and their caregivers with information about adaptive strategies for reintegrating into school programming.
Information about state vocational rehabilitation agencies is available through the Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.
Information about returning to school after a burn injury is available through the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center and the Phoenix Society.
By: Kim Roaten, PhD, UT Southwestern Medical Center