Published on December 6, 2013 at 8:18 PM
Return-to-work best practices - Recovery and return to work play a particularly significant role for cancer patients. In fact, Jacob says, most people who have been diagnosed with cancer are very motivated to get back to work because it helps create a sense of control at a time when people often feel understandably overwhelmed.
A successful return-to-work strategy requires a collaborative approach among short term disability case managers, an employee's supervisor and HR representatives. This ensures the employee is getting the support they need to resume work in a safe and productive manner.
Expertise of disability benefit specialists, and clinical and vocational resources - Cancer patients experience a wide range of side effects from treatment, including fatigue and cognitive issues that are the result of "chemo-brain." Short term disability case managers should have the training needed to understand the employee's overall health condition in order to provide the necessary support and accommodations the employee may need as they transition back to work.
Short term disability and employee assistance program coordination - Coordination with employee assistance programs is critical to ensure effective management of employees on disability leave.
"For employers, the financial, emotional and productivity burden of cancer in the workplace is high," said Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. "With significant gains in cancer survival rates and most cancer survivors staying at work during their treatment or returning to work after their treatment, employers need a comprehensive benefits plan to ensure that their current strategies to address cancer in the workplace complement the needs of their employees. That's one of the main reasons we launched this project with NCCN - to help employers meet this growing challenge."
Jacob was one of 35 members of the advisory committee for this effort. Other participants included benefit managers, clinical cancer experts, medical directors, health plan and pharmaceutical representatives, health care consultants, disability managers, and EAP and health improvement professionals.
Although the project is wrapping up and the advisory committee is formally ending, committee members will continue to support the National Business Group on Health in promoting the guide. There are also plans to enhance the guide to include strategies for managed care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers and consultants.