Living with a brain injury can be life-altering and profoundly impact an individual’s physical, cognitive, and emotional health. Every year, the CDC estimates that around 2.5 million emergency room visits in the U.S. are related to TBIs or traumatic brain injuries.
As employers, there are a variety of ways you can support employees living with brain injuries to help them work more productively and feel valued in the workplace. By understanding their needs and offering assistance as needed, employers can ensure an inclusive and supportive work environment for everyone. Here are four ways companies can support employees living with brain injuries.
Brain injury can cause difficulties in concentration, processing speed, and communication. To help employees with brain injuries stay productive, companies should offer appropriate accommodations such as additional time to complete tasks, frequent breaks, or a quiet workspace to avoid distractions. Adjustments can also be made to the physical environment for those who are mobility impaired due to injury.
Organizations should also consider accommodating any special dietary requirements resulting from brain injury. Some employees may require a modified diet to assist with nutritional needs and recovery. Cognitive rehabilitation programs such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals develop strategies for managing the effects of their condition.
It is essential to understand the specific needs of each employee to properly support them with their work and create a positive environment. It may be beneficial to consult with Occupational Health professionals to develop an effective support plan tailored to individual needs. Companies should also ensure that employees can access any additional information and support.
Create an Understanding Environment
Companies should strive to create an understanding environment where coworkers are educated about the challenges of brain injury and how best to support affected individuals in the workplace. This may include ensuring that managers and supervisors know how brain injuries impact work performance and providing training sessions on disability awareness for all staff members.
These training sessions should focus on understanding how to better interact with an employee who has experienced a brain injury, such as how to adjust their job duties or provide accommodations. By educating employees on the challenges of brain injury and creating an understanding environment, your organization can create a positive work culture that empowers individuals with disabilities and encourages open communication.
Additionally, employers should ensure their policies are up-to-date and accessible to employees. This includes updating workplace policies as necessary to comply with disability laws and regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Finally, employers can provide access to resources that may assist affected individuals in developing strategies for coping or adjusting to work-related changes.
Here are some resources that may help your employees with brain injuries:
• Brain Injury Association of America
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
• National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)
• U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
• Vocational rehabilitation services
Organizations can foster a positive workplace culture by creating an understanding environment where employees with brain injuries feel considered and supported. After all, disability inclusion is an important step in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Develop Mental Health Support Services
Brain injuries can affect mental health and cause depression, anxiety, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Companies should provide access to resources for employees with brain injuries, such as counseling or therapy services.
Companies should also provide mental health support beyond counseling and therapy. For instance, employees can be encouraged to participate in activities that support positive mental well-being, such as yoga, mindfulness meditation, or even a walk. Scheduling regular meetings with a psychologist or therapist are essential for staying mentally healthy and provides an opportunity to recognize any changes in mental health/
Also, providing employees with support groups or mentors could benefit those living with brain injury. These support systems can include peers and other individuals in similar situations, making them more comfortable and open to discussing their experiences. Companies should also ensure that the mental health resources they provide are easily accessible, equitable, and diverse so that everyone can benefit from them.
Partner with a Law Firm
In some cases, employees may require legal assistance to receive the necessary accommodations or benefits. Companies should form partnerships with law firms knowledgeable in disability-related laws and regulations to ensure that affected individuals can get the required help.
In the case of brain injury, finding a law firm specializing in brain injuries is essential. Such firms are at the forefront of understanding the unique challenges faced by those living with brain injuries and can work with companies to ensure they receive proper accommodations. Brain injury law firms typically have teams of experienced lawyers knowledgeable about federal and state laws and regulations related to brain injuries. They can advise on the best options for accommodating employees with brain injuries, such as providing specialized equipment or changing a workstation.
They can also help employers determine what benefits are available and how they should be administered. Partnering with a law firm specializing in brain injury law can significantly benefit both employees and employers. Employees have access to knowledgeable legal professionals who can help them navigate the complexities of disability-related issues. At the same time, employers can rest assured they are providing the best possible support for their affected employees.
By implementing these five strategies, companies can provide meaningful support for their employees living with brain injuries while helping them become more productive members of the workplace. These accommodations can help those suffering from traumatic brain injury and create a supportive and inclusive environment for all workers.
Employers need to be aware of how brain injuries affect job performance to ensure that their workforce is equipped with the necessary resources to succeed despite any obstacles faced by those living with disabilities. By providing reasonable adjustments, companies can positively impact their employees’ lives and create an environment of acceptance and understanding for those living with brain injuries.