Roy was diagnosed with Post Concussive Syndrome/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and his restrictions were his condition caused him to be sensitive to light and sound. There were limited records available at the time of the referral, but I thought my first plan of action was to investigate why return-to-work was not an option with the employer of injury.
I met with Roy and learned the challenges that would lie ahead as the tapping of keys on my laptop during the initial meeting caused him great pain. It was at this time that I and supervisor Adele Doering decided that this would need Extended Occupational Analysis and would take a little longer to obtain the relevant information. Finally, after completing the initial vocational assessment, I advocated with the carrier for a formal vocational evaluation, to assess Roy’s aptitudes and competencies in simulated work situations. After obtaining authorization, I referred Roy to Pam Hollingsworth of Vidant Occupational Health to this effort. The evaluation took approx. 2 days.
After receiving Pam’s report and recommendations, I telephoned the North Carolina Assistive Technology program and inquired if the program would be beneficial for Roy. I contacted the referral source again advocating for assistive devices, all of which were authorized right away. The NC Assistive Technology Evaluator met with Roy (at his home) immediately and conducted a one day interview and one day evaluation and recommended specific noise canceling earplugs and glare shields.
Protocol for the manufacture of earplugs, necessitated that impressions of the ear canal be taken. Roy went to a local hearing center in his area (Avada) and impressions were taken. While there, Avada suggested to Roy that it was “more practical to order the earplugs from them instead from a recommended provider from the Western part of the country.” Subsequently, Roy was fitted for the noise-canceling earplugs (suction increases with sound and decreases without sound). In the interim, Roy was provided several job leads. He applied for a position with a local Rental Property as an Air Filter Changer and got the job!! His pre-injury wage was $8.80 per hour, this position offered $11 per hour to start, but it was only part time. He began work expressing some challenges related to tolerance, as he has been out of work for four years. His duties consisted of driving from location to location changing the air filter in each AC unit. We still had not ordered the glare shields. Independently, I ordered the recommended glare shields, only to learn that Roy did not like them “they make me look like a bug…..I can’t wear these and they are digging into my cheeks.” I therefore met with Roy and we ordered the replacement glare shields together. He received the replacement shields on September 5, 2013. Roy was informed that his Air Filter Changer position is expected to become full time this month.
Vickie Hyman, MS, CRC, LPC