The CAF health services and return to duty
Return to Duty (RTD) is integrated with a member’s recovery and rehabilitation plans. Early intervention provides the greatest chance of a successful RTD for members. A structured recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration plan should be initiated through close communication among the Chain of Command, CFHS, the TC RTD Coordinator (or Unit RTD Representative) and the ill/injured CAF member. This interdisciplinary framework demands collaboration, professionalism, the highest level of respect for confidentiality and accountability for all stakeholders.
While the PHCP recommends RTD for the member, the RTD plan is developed collaboratively with the member, the medical team, the chain of command, and the Trancision Centre (TC) RTD Coordinator. While the RTD recommendation should be guided by what the patient is restricted from doing, it should be further designed with the intent of establishing what duties the member can do and is motivated to do. This promotes hope, confidence, motivation and responsible action on the part of the member.
In developing the RTD recommendation, PHCPs should consult with Unit RTD Representatives and the TC RTD Coordinator to understand the character of their duty placement location (operational tempo and ‘workplace dynamics’) as well as the unit’s goals, expectations and intentions with respect to employing the member.
The RTD recommendation should be goal oriented. Accordingly, PHCPs should, in considering their RTD plan, assist the member in identifying and establishing goals based on the following criteria:
- Specific to their rank, occupation, skills
- Respectful of their MELs but also provide opportunities within, and up to, their functional capabilities
- Realistic and achievable
- Progressive, action-oriented
- Integrated with recovery and rehabilitation plans
- Inclusive of a re-conditioning program
It is both understood and appreciated that an PHCP’s efforts and expertise are best utilized in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. It is also recognized that the above guidelines imply additional responsibilities for the PHCP when recommending RTD to members. However, successful reintegration to full duty is best achieved through a robust, comprehensive and collaborative RTD plan. An RTD Plan that enhances and accelerates patient recovery and rehabilitation from the outset presents the best chance for success.
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