Elizabeth Part Four – Successful Return to Work After Severe Brain Injury
Although Elizabeth was not able to perform her previous duties at the end of her therapy, her employer sent her back to work doing another job. This is a common practice in workman’s comp cases since the person is working and receiving wages and, therefore, cannot claim to have a permanent total disability. For a person with a brain injury, the practice of returning a person to work sooner than advisable, actually has both positive and negative implications. The positive side is that work provides cognitive stimulation; the negative is that there is the potential risk of another injury.
Elizabeth was not able to perform her previous duties, so accepted an easier job as a line worker. Even though there were parts of this job that were difficult and frustrating such as understanding what people were saying and difficulty keeping up with a fast pace, she was able to deal with the challenges with humor and a positive attitude. Elizabeth’s second injury was not as serious and occurred three years after the first injury, the resulting ramifications complicated her ability to accommodate her existing challenges. Attempts to listen to and understand people left her feeling scared, upset and unable to handle tasks on the job.