Going back to work after a heart episode, can be difficult and as well as physical changes and getting back to health, the individual may have emotional worries and anxiety and depression issues which also need to be supported in the back to work process.

Practical Ideas and Techniques for the individual after a heart condition:

  • Before returning to work, access tasks which are similar to the work tasks in order to simulate the activity in a safe place, to build confidence (guidance from a treating health professional may be required).
  • Cardiac Classes attendance will help and build in exercise routines. Time allowed to attend appointments, when back at work.
  • A Worksite Assessment or Occupational Health Assessment conducted before returning to work, e.g. Functional Capacity Evaluation or Ergonomic Assessment to review the work role and tasks and consider reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010.
  • A graduated return to work plan of hours, from an Occupational Health professional, to build up hours gradually.
  • Contact schemes such as Access to Work if additional input or review is required.
  • Additional support from management during the return to work process, so ease any anxieties or difficulties.
  • Utilise any employee assistance programmes via your employer, if applicable.
  • Pace activities and prioritise them.
  • Grade exposure to new or difficult circumstances, so it is manageable.
  • Keep a Diary of health/tasks.
  • Reduce stressful situations.
  • Relaxation and medication is beneficial.
  • Take breaks at work, micro breaks and rest breaks. Review as required.
  • Walk at lunchtime if possible.
  • Finish work on time and report if the work load is difficult to achieve.
  • Improve sleep health to reduce fatigue.
  • Do things you enjoy.

Also see:
https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/wellbeing/returning-to-work
https://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/heart-conditions/returning-to-work-with-a-heart-condition

Here at Healthywork, Alison Biggs, registered Occupational Therapist, offers Occupational Health Assessments, including Ergonomic Assessment, and a Functional Capacity Evaluation in order to assess the employee’s ability to perform their work role and suggest reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010 which can help. Find out more about these and other services on offer at:

https://healthywork.org.uk/occupational-health-services/ergonomic-assessment/ https://healthywork.org.uk/occupational-health-services/functional-capacity-assessment/

Alison Biggs

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