Vocational Rehabilitational Intervention

Referral to a vocational rehabilitational counselor may come early after injury or at some later time. Early referral may not be appropriate if the client is not yet in a position to face vocational issues. Although some medical stability may have been achieved, it must be determined if functional stability is sufficient to begin addressing vicational concerns. The IRI Study Group sets out four factors for the vocational rehabilitation rehabilitation professional to consider.

Client's Ability to Participate.
The client must be awake, alert, oriented, out of posttrauma amnesia (i.e., able to remember ongoing events from day to day), able to understand what happened to him or her, and prepared to take an active part in realistically planning for the future.
Stage of Improvement.
The first 6 to 12 months after injury are often characterized by steady, spontaneous improvement. Physical, cognitive, and behavioral changes are so rapid that evaluation is often useless for determining eventual vocational potential. Wait until this early phase of marked change is complete before attemptin to evaluate the client for indications of ultimate potential. Keep close to the client, monitoring progress, but defer evaluation until the rate of change slows.
Approopriateness of Services.
The vocational rehabilitation counselor is often asked to purchase services that sare not directly related to vocational concerns. If intervention begins too early, services that are more medical in nature may be requested. The practitioner needs to evaluate the appropriateness of such requests.
Alternate Sources of Funding.
The astute vocational rehabilitation counselor will become aware of alternate funding sources to recommend when requests for services do not seem specific to the process of vocational rehabilitation.

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