How to get back to work after a stroke

Going back to work after a stroke can be a big change.

Whether you are returning to your current job or finding a new role, support is available to help make the transition easier. At APM, we help people like you get back to work with confidence.

A stroke happens when there is not enough blood supply to the brain. This may be caused by a blocked or burst artery. Blood carries oxygen and important nutrients to the brain, so when the blood supply is cut off, brain cells begin to die.

Strokes affect everyone differently. People may experience a wide range of effects depending on what area of the brain is damaged and other health factors.

The effects of a stroke may include:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty with speech and language comprehension
  • Memory loss
  • Vision loss
  • Coordination issues
  • Changes to your mood

The effects someone experiences after a stroke may impact their ability to work. With the right support and care, many people return to work after a stroke, though not always in the same capacity.

After a stroke, it is natural to feel apprehensive about returning to work, especially if your ability level has changed.

If you are worried about losing your job after a stroke, APM can help. Speak with us today about our government funded support services.

In this guide you will find information about:

  • Returning to your current job
  • Finding new job opportunities / changing careers
  • Managing in the workplace after a stroke
  • Where to find help if you need it

Will I be able to get back to work?

Many people do return to work after having a stroke. With the right care and support, you may be able to start working again.

A person’s ability to return to work will depend on the effects the stroke had on them and the progress of their recovery. Some people make a full recovery after a stroke and others live with permanent side effects.

The effects of a stroke are different for everyone. Stroke survivors may experience weakness, fatigue, difficulty with balance, language difficulties, vision loss, mobility issues or problems with memory.

Working with an occupational therapist can help you understand your limitations and the possibility of recovery.

It’s important to set realistic goals around returning to work. Some people may be able to return to their current job while others may need to reassess their career.

Your employer may be eligible for funding from the government for workplace adjustments to help you perform your job well. Workplace adjustments can help you feel more confident about returning to work after a stroke.

Can I return to my current job?

Some people are able to return to their previous job after having a stroke. This depends on the nature of the job, the person’s level of recovery and how much support the employer can offer.

If you can no longer perform essential job tasks of your previous role, you may be able to return to the same workplace in a different or modified role.

Many employers want to support their employees in returning to work but they may need professional advice about how they can do so.

At APM, we can work with you and your employer to find solutions to help you feel confident about returning to work.

The recovery period for a stroke can be quite long and it’s important to return to work in your own time. Your occupational therapist may suggest phasing your duties back in slowly or returning to your job in a part time capacity at first.

For some people, the effects of a stroke may directly impact their ability to perform their previous job. For example, if you previously worked as a taxi driver and the stroke has impacted your ability to drive safely, you may need to seek support about changing careers.

How to get a new job after a stroke

It can feel discouraging if you are unable to return to your previous job or have experienced losing a job after a stroke.

At APM, we have helped many stroke survivors find new roles where they feel fulfilled and empowered.

Talking with one of our employment consultants can help you understand your options, including possibilities you may not have considered.

Some people find work in the same industry they previously worked in. The skills and knowledge they learned in their previous roles can be transferred to their new role.

Other people see their stroke as a chance to re-evaluate their career direction and life goals. You may already have the skills and experience to apply for certain roles. Others roles may require you to undergo training to become qualified.

Looking for suitable job opportunities can be a long process. If you are having trouble finding a job after a stroke, APM is here for you. We can help with:

Good jobs for stroke survivors

When thinking about what types of jobs might be right for you, think about your interests, skills and abilities.

You may wish to speak to an occupational therapist about how the stroke has affected your ability to perform certain tasks. It’s important to be realistic about what you can do and set achievable goals that you can work towards.

With the right support, people who have had a stroke can work in a range of job roles and workplaces. At APM, we have helped many stroke survivors find meaningful long term employment.

Take Tansy for example. After experiencing a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain, Tansy has restricted use of her right eye, arm and leg. When Tansy came to APM, she was struggling to find long term employment.

Her APM employment consultant helped her find her dream job working in a primary school library where she is valued by the staff and students. Now Tansy is studying to become a teacher with the support of her employer and APM.

Managing in the workplace after a stroke

When you return to work after a stroke, you may encounter challenges. It’s important to monitor how you are going and reach out for help if you need it.

Regaining confidence in the workplace can take time. At APM, we can work closely with you and your employer to make sure you have the support you need to feel confident about doing your job.

This may include workplace adjustments such as:

  • Limiting certain movements or tasks that are out of your range
  • Reducing the amount of meetings / phone calls etc relative to your speaking ability
  • Days off for appointments
  • Flexible start/end times so you can avoid peak hour traffic if transport is an issue
  • Regular breaks to cope with fatigue
  • Special equipment such as keyboards designed to be used with one hand or speech recognition software
  • Mobility aids
  • Working from home

Support is available

If you are worried about losing your job after a stroke or need help looking for a new role, APM is here for you.

We can support you every step of the way, whether you are hoping to return to your previous job or are wondering how to get a new job after a stroke.

Did you know that you could be eligible for Disability Employment Services or Work Assist?

These government funded programs can help you find a job and feel empowered in the workplace. When you register with APM, a dedicated employment consultant will work closely with you to find solutions that are right for you.

For more information about how we can support you in returning to work, get in touch today.