Access to Work - any1 had assessments? Got much out of it?

claire1986
claire1986 Member Posts: 23
I've just gone back to work after nearly a year on the sick. Still struggling with my job but can't afford to stay off. I have RA in both knees, but my right leg is real bad as after a synevectomy i have been left with a bent leg, that doesnt straighten. Very hard going. Im covered under the DDA so thats good and have applied for Access to work. I have a physio coming out to see me at work, through this, but have no idea what to expect. In my job i dont think theres alot access to work can do 4 me?? I didnt realy get much choice over the phone, was lyk she was saying she would send physio out and didnt talk about anything else! Surely there could be other things to do?

So stressed out atm, evrythings going so slow! Orthapaedic appointment been cancelled again t a later date, think ill be left with this bent leg for resta ma lyf if nothing gets done bowt it!!!

Comments

  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,347
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Clare,

    I have no personal experience of this, but was under the impression that an OT can come out too and see if there is any equipment that would make the job easier/more accessible for you too. I'm sure more knowledge peeps will be along shortly to advise.

    Please update us - I will be returning to work in a few months too following my hip op and I'm worried too about coping (my head in his wisdom has put me in a class of littl'uns - little chairs and lots of sitting on the floor! DURR!!)

    Speedy
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • dorcas
    dorcas Member Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Claire...nice to meet you :D

    I've been through this process at the end of last year/ beginning of this... and like you wasn't sure what to expect. It is an opportunity for you to say what aids or support might help you do your job (which is crucial)... as they will ask you what you think you need as well as offering you their opinion and advice. The assessment lasts a couple of hours and is very in depth; they will ask you what your job entails, your health and history, what problems you are having with physically doing the job and look at your work station, office, classroom, whatever your work entails.

    The assessment is confidential to you (you are the customer not your employer) and you will receive a copy of their assessment and recommendations. Your employer will receive only the recommendations as they have an obligation in law to put in place what ATW assess you require. ATW do fund a lot of the aids / support package themselves so don't worry about that.

    Under DDA ...ATW assess what aids and supports you need to allow you to remain in your job ...or for those planning to return to work (speedy!)..... to help you get back into the workplace by providing the aids, adaptations or supports you need. Because their focus is the workplace and you have complex needs it is necessary and logical that they visit you at your place of work to carry out the assessment.

    They work in conjunction with your employer but you need to know that an ATW assessment does not remove your employer's duty to look at what additional measures need to be taken by them to help you ...termed 'reasonable adjustments' eg..phased return to work, reduced hours, change of duties....which Occupational Health should be addressing.
    In some cases a 'Risk Assessment' should also be done by occy health to ensure you are not being asked to do anything that might result in a worsening of your condition. (speedy...like sitting on tiny chairs or the floor perhaps?)

    It's a lot to take in...and I maybe have not explained it properly but in essence ATW is there to help you with the things you need to stay in your job ....and has legal clout!

    Iris x
  • janie68
    janie68 Member Posts: 1,186
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi

    I have had an ATW assessment and my experience was not as good as Iris describes it. Yes I had a physio come to assess me for a chair at work but I was not offered the full assessment. I asked about an electric wheelchair as the ward where I work is very big and walking around all day is not possible for me. I had to sort this out on my own with no help or support apart from the cost. I suppose that is very important. I had to wait 8 months for my chair at work. They did not chase it up for me, despite asking for help as I had hit a brick wall with my employers.

    Despite these problems, I did get them in the end. I hope you have a successful experience with it.

    Janie
  • claire1986
    claire1986 Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks everyone for your comments. Good to hear what others have experienced. Ive had a risk assessment done yeah, had a phase return etc, but still just plodding on. I had a meeting with my manager on wednesday and i can reduce my hours, go part time or do 7 30 til 6, 3 days a week. Im in a routine of doing 9 til 6 everyday and struggled with that so not sure if ill manage 7 30 till 6. The nursery is very busy and means i will be there for the full day, think this will be 2 much for me still. Just dont know what to do as going part time, is just not an option, losing money!
    Its just one of them jobs that you can't adapt, dont think ATW will be able to do alot for me! I already use a bigger chair, put in place by myself.
    My boss is really supportive so thats a plus.
    Also i dont drive so get the bus to work and back, taking up more time! Does'nt help my tiredness really.
    We shall see what wednesday holds!......
  • marion1952
    marion1952 Member Posts: 996
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Claire

    I am off work following a hip replacement (I have RA and OA) but am hoping to return to work very soon and am having an Access to Work assessor visit me in my office on Tuesday for a 'workplace assessment' .. I gather it will take half an hour or so and the person will observe how I function at my desk and have a general chat about the other work that I do outside the office..

    I am expecting to be told that I need a special chair and some computer adaptations and I am also going to try out some voice activation software (called Dragon) as I have problems with my hands too. I gather Access to work will pay half the costs of the chair/equipment and my employer will have to pay the other half.

    I will be posting a message on Tuesday evening to let everyone know what happened in the assessment.

    Marion
  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,347
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Claire,

    when is the physio coming out to see you? I'm sorry you are having trouble with your knees - you must be struggling with a knee that refuses to straighten.
    Do you work fulltime?
    Speedy
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,347
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Iris, I will have to sort all of this stuff out once S is back at school ...

    hadn't occurred to me that the assessment would have to take place at work - DURR!!! Hopefully though just seeing the classroom etc will be enough as I wont be teaching - I will just have to arrange for us to borrow the room for a bit?! Does the interview have to take place at school too?

    My head never involved Occy health in the end though - so no one has said I'm ok to be covered by DDA ... so do I have to request an assessment by OH?

    My boss loves the idea of risk assessments ... he is quite obsessed with them ... but I'm a bit afraid of them ... probably silly as I don't think my actual job description says things like "must be able to chase an escaping child" etc and I 'm well able to plan and deliver lessons etc

    However, equally my boss does not realise how important it is that if I'm working with little ones that I do sit on eye level with them etc - he wouldn't even realise that sitting on a high chair and working with a child on a low one etc was "wrong" or realise the need for those working with little'uns to play on the floor etc .... these are things that I would want to do to carry out my job properly ... hence the unsuitability of working with this age group ... and my bosses inability to realise this.

    Speedy

    PS Must say though, I am doing more each day ... especially entertaining S -it is a bit like school ... went swimming today and didn't count how many width we swam (that was my only concession - we swam widths instead of the usual lengths) - just risked it ... and hope don't pay.
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • dorcas
    dorcas Member Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Clair,

    any update? :D did ATW help you with any support?

    hope you are doing OK....would be nice to hear how you are getting on :D

    iris x



    Hi speedy....sorry I missed this :oops: haven't been around all the forums as much as I would like to recently. :wink:

    Your boss should be involving occy health as a matter of course, given you have been off long term post op and your needs may have changed... and their obligations under DDA should be assessed. If your boss hasn't thought of it :roll: then a nudge by you in the right direction is definitely called for. :!:

    In terms of your employer being keen to carry out risk assessments ....I can't see how expecting you to sit in those tiny chairs isn't a 'risk' to you after your op?

    The DDA says a disabled person is someone with ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.

    I've posted this AC publications link speedy where there are leflets that explain it all much better than I could.

    http://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/PublicationsandResources/Workindependence

    hope all goes well speedy. :wink:

    Iris x
  • claire1986
    claire1986 Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello evryone, so lovely to hear everyones experiences, sorry ive not been on here much, i total forgot about it actually lol, then couldnt remember my username or password lol.

    Ive had a few weeks off work, 3 in fact, woops, gonna have a shock tomorrow. Back full time again!

    Well a physio did come out to see me, and all she could suggest is a chair on wheels, that looks realli hideous and embarassing, but on speaking to my manager, it will be 2 unsuitable, i mean come on, i work in a room with about 10 little 1- 2 year olds! And i dont sit down all the day im constantly on the go! Manger said can get it then risk assess it, but i think its pointless! I know it will be getting sent back! Costing about 600 pound, the physio said wed be paying the first 300 and ATW would pay the rest, but then got a letter saying unfortunately because you've been in your job for more than 6 weeks we cant pay the costs!! S
  • claire1986
    claire1986 Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    So, im stuck in a rut again, not knowing what to do! I,ve not bothered orderin it. So no i didnt find them very helpful! Still stuck with a bent leg, still in pain all the time, and it even gives me pain if i've not done anything, not like something sets it off, it can happen anytime. At the weekend my left knee swelled up! Wasn't happy! Its been ice packs and paracetamol all weekend! Grrrrr.
    Back to work tomorrow i have reduced my hours, reluctanly, how my gonna cope ahhhhhh lol, we shall see....

    Well ive just rambled on 4 ages now, but no -one understands what im going through, its horrible so lovely just to kinda whinge to u guys who all know what its like!

    xxxx
  • claire1986
    claire1986 Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Speedy..... how ya getting on?? x
  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,347
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Claire,

    Marion suggested a wheeled, hydraulic chair for me ... and I think it might be worth a shot - though with my room is SO small that could be a challenge. It might mean though that I can whizz around the semicircle of children - on their height without having to keep getting up, moving and then down to their level ... wont help with lifting children and sitting on the floor with them though.

    If you are in a room of 1 to 2 year olds ... isn't that all about playing on the floor too? Have you any ideas of your own of what might help ... think utopia here - many a true word said in jest.

    I'm sure ATW are wrong!! If your condition is progressive and has got worse since you have been in post ... I don't see how the 6 week thing applies. Marion has been in her job for several years and since her condition has changed (due to op, progression of RA etc) she has qualified for equipment partly funded under DDA.

    Sorry Iris, only just seen your reply - shall be tackling this all head on, next week - once S is back at school.

    Speedy

    PS Claire, quite a few staff at our school use low physio stools on wheels that can be adjusted to the desired height to whizz around on. They are great for example if you are teaching someone to walk as they are put you on the same height as the little person you are helping etc ... No good for me ... but might help you?
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • claire1986
    claire1986 Member Posts: 23
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Yeah thats the kinda chair the physio mentioned but my manager thinks itl be 2 much of a risk in the room im in so ive not carried it forward just shoved the letter in a drawer! The stool was an option but we thought the one with the backrest would be better.

    Life is getting a little easier atm, workwise im not a stired. But saw my consultant and am now having another op next mth!!!! Dont know wether to be happy or sad, but guess i have to stay positive! Dont wana spiral into depression again this time!