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Identifying Accommodations for Robert to Return to Work

Robert experiences residual memory problems following the removal of a brain cyst. Thirteen months after the operation, he gradually began to return to work, as the regional manager of an insurance company, where he had been employed for thirty years.

Job Functions

The four primary functions of Robert's position included:

  1. Determining whether or not to accept a proposal,
  2. Traveling around the state,
  3. Making sales presentations, and
  4. Recalling pertinent information from meetings.
Return to Work Concerns & Recommendations

Robert had been back in the office on a part-time basis for approximately three weeks when the president of the company began to notice he was having difficulty performing the job effectively. The services of a vocational rehabilitation specialist were secured to provide advice on whether he could perform the essential functions of his job with or without accommodation. Multiple on-the-job observations revealed a number of potential accommodations that Robert might be able to use to assist him with performing the job.

Concern 1: Robert needed to recall information related to policy changes and new corporate procedures.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Study and read information using a method especially designed to enhance retention.
  • Keep a daily journal including:
    1) "to do" and "accomplished" list;
    2) telephone contact log;
    3) insertion of post it notes to serve as a cue for carrying over a task, highlighting tasks or questions which needed to be answered.
Concern 2: Robert became very anxious when asked to respond to questions that related to new information.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Attend therapy focusing on developing relaxation techniques and recognizing the source of anxiety.
  • Allow early release from work on days when Robert feels anxiety is becoming unmanageable.
  • Review medication with primary care physician.
Concern 3: Robert needed to accept or reject group health insurance proposals.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Write down all new information.
  • Schedule specific times throughout the day to conduct this activity.
Concern 4: Robert needed to find his way to various locations for appointments.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Take time to preplan a route.
  • Use a map and write down the directions.
  • Hire a driver.
  • Pair up with a co-worker.
Concern 5: Robert needed to recall the outcome of business meetings with clients and brokers.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Pair up with another company representative at important meetings and compare notes after the meeting to check comprehension.
  • Use a tape recorder and summarize outcomes later.
Concern 6: Robert needed to make sales presentations.

Recommended Accommodations:

  • Practice and videotape these rehearsals. Review the tape using a checklist to determine if all-important points were covered.
  • In advance, develop slides/handouts and specific notes to guide the sales presentation.
Robert and his employer received the recommendations for accommodations and selected which ones to use. In the instance where multiple accommodations were recommended, the employer allowed Robert to select the one he desired to use. The vocational rehabilitation specialist who performed the assessment was hired to assist with designing, implementing, and training Robert how to effectively use the accommodations. Eight weeks later, Robert was performing independently on all but one of the essential functions of his job. Because of his length of tenure with the company, the business decided to reassign this task to another worker.