Annual Meeting Highlights
 DOI: 10.1176/appi.pn.2014.2b19
Session to Help Clinicians Navigate Psychiatric Disability Issues
Psychiatric News
Volume 49 Number 4 page 1


Skill and understanding of the disability process help minimize patients’ downtime from work.

Abstract Teaser

To be able to work has usually been thought of as a sign of overall health. What happens when a patient is unable to do so? How does the psychiatrist navigate the road between impairment, symptom improvement, and work? What happens when there is a disagreement between patient and physician? Between patient, physician, and employer?

Psychiatric training programs are busy teaching risk assessments, safety plans, and treatment plans. But there is rarely time to learn the skill that will challenge every psychiatrist who sees patients—the work-assessment, impairment, and return-to-work plan. Those attending APA’s annual meeting should plan to join Paul Pender, Psy.D., from JPMorgan Chase, and R. Scott Benson, M.D., for a candid dialogue between employer and psychiatrist that will help clinicians better handle the sometimes competing demands of the parties involved in the disability process.

The session, titled “Doctor I Can’t Take My Job, Sign Me Off Work: Strategies to Navigate Disability Assessment and Management While Providing Psychiatric Treatment,” will be held Monday, May 5, at 3:30 p.m. at the Javits Convention Center.

Discussion will include a review of the methods used to assess and document work-related impairment and the crucial distinction between “impairment” and “disability.” Case examples will demonstrate how diagnostic decisional trees do not necessarily lead to an off-work recommendation and how that often unwelcome recommendation can be communicated to patients. Karasek’s “job strain model” will be explored to help attendees understand why there may be an increase in requests for time off work by employees citing psychiatric conditions.

The workshop is being presented in conjunction with the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a program of the American Psychiatric Foundation. ■

Mary Claire Kraft is program manager of the American Psychiatric Foundation’s Partnership for Workplace Mental Health

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