Occupational health

It is such good news that more and more people survive major head trauma, or head & neck malignancies and other serious maxillofacial conditions, and after a recovery period are able to take back control over their life, albeit in many cases in a ‘new normal’ mode of operation. The burden of consequences of disease, injury and/or treatment can be considerable and is highly individual, so support with finding individual and practical ways to deal with, and work around, lasting dysfunctions is vital in the process of returning to normality. This is even more important given that more people after such serious episodes want to, and do return to work.

Many maxillofacial patients in this group have very specific difficulties and needs for support to manage everyday life. It seems difficult to find specialised occupational health support to meet these needs. We have tried to find established and easily accessible sources and centres of specialised support and have failed. In fact, it seems that in many cases patients and carers are the experts who can educate the professionals. We believe that there are occupational health experts out there, somewhere, who specialise in maxillofacial conditions but we have not found them. We speculate that some larger centres engaged in major maxillofacial and head & neck surgery and aftercare may have working contacts with specialised occupational health experts. Alternatively, professional bodies such as the Royal College of Occupational Therapists in the UK may be able to help and give advice.

Below we report briefly from experience and signpost other areas of the website, sharing some tips & tricks and ideas that may we worth exploring (keeping in mind that different people will have different needs). Some, probably most, practical solutions and work-arounds will apply to home and the work place, but depending on somebody’s profession there may be additional specific practicalities to consider at the work place.

Overwhelmingly, all of the considerations here are about enabling participation.