The personal injury department at leading, north-west law firm JMW has highlighted a need for head injury sufferers returning to work to be given the opportunity to discuss the injury with their employers so that adequate support can be provided.
JMW aims to raise awareness of how someone who has sustained a head injury may deal with returning to work by way of a visual guide that highlights common scenarios adults face on their transition back to employment.
Paul Breen, head of JMW’s catastrophic injuries team, said: “Returning to work is a key part of the recovery process for many people who have sustained a head injury and it is vital that employers understand what support they can provide if one of their workers suffers a head injury.
“Sadly, in my experience, there is still a general nervousness on both sides when it comes to discussing mental health issues. Employees are afraid to talk about the impact a head injury has had on their ability to work for fear of being misunderstood or patronised. Employers, on the other hand, are reluctant to ask questions for fear of saying the wrong thing. Allowing time to talk to the individual about their specific injury and the impact it is having on what they can and can’t do is a great starting point.
“Without appropriate assistance, individuals can quickly become overwhelmed and may be unable to cope; a disaster for both the employee and employer. An open dialogue between employees and employers can make all the difference and ensure that the right adjustments are made, whether this is a reduction or increased flexibility in working hours, a change of role or putting different support structures in place to ensure that the person is treated fairly.”
JMW’s easy-to-review guide intends to give head injury sufferers and employers an idea of what should be being discussed and what strategies can be put into place before and after returning to work.
Paul continued: “Those who’ve sustained a head injury can experience a wide range of cognitive and behavioural issues that can affect their lives, and we want to place a spotlight on this particular issue.
“We hope that this makes it easier for any workplace issue to be recognised and handled in a supportive and inclusive manner.”