Occupational Therapy Medical Fitness for Work Section
The primary function of the service at the Medical Fitness for Work Section is to conduct work capacity assessments.
Work capacity assessments may either be of a client’s general work capacity (± 3 hour assessment) or an assessment of work capacity for specific occupations and/ or job (± 2 days).
The former assists to determine:
- The client’s eligibility for a disabled grant (issued by the Department of Social Services and Population Development)
- Whether the client, who is not fit to work in open labour, is suited to sheltered or protected labour.
The latter assists to determine the client’s potential to:
- Return to his own job, with or without adaptation (i.e. reasonable accommodations, in accordance with the Employment Act, 1998)
- Succeed in an alternative job or occupation.
On occasion, assessments are also conducted for insurance benefit claim and medico-legal cases.
Every client is evaluated by an occupational therapist, which may also include the assistance of the industrial technician. Other members of the medical team are also consulted if the need arises.
The assessment comprises an interview with the client, where the aims of the consultation are set. This is followed by an assessment of the client’s sensory-motor, cognitive and perceptual abilities, personal and social behaviour, motivation, work habits, and endurance for a full working day.
Standardized testing, including the Valpar Component Work Sample Battery, and work simulation in the fields of assembly, technical, clerical and manual labour, predict rate of work, knowledge and proficiency.
Where appropriate and possible, the client undergoes treatment which may comprise self empowerment and work seeking behaviour, work conditioning (gradual participation in work related tasks), and/ or work hardening (participation in full programme as preparation to cope with a full working day).
Where possible, unemployed clients are referred for suitable placement according to the information gained during assessment and treatment.