Correct actions are wrong unless they are timely
When a person returns, after a long sick leave, to working life with the support from IPS job coaching, many risks related to coping, resilience to stress, and success appear. “In order to ensure successful working, it is necessary to have a good plan and a safety valve to receive the versatile support one needs,” says Tomi Alatalo. Tomi is Master of Economics, HUS Psychiatry’s Expert by Experience and a customer panel member. In the IPS regional pilot, Tomi is a member of the monitoring and steering group. He is closely involved in the regional pilot development groups, bringing in the perspective of an expert by experience already to the development stage.
According to the quality criteria of the IPS operating model, the employment specialists work in close, multiprofessional cooperation with both nurses and the coachee’s other network. However, the focus of the IPS job coaching should remain on activities with an aim towards working life. According to studies, IPS job coaching is most effective when tailored to an individual’s needs, competences, and interests. To meet the above requirements and the need highlighted by Tomi, the responsibilities and roles must be clearly divided. This also means that IPS job coaching should be one part of a broader rehabilitation plan if necessary. Tomi emphasises that when starting IPS job coaching, other forms of rehabilitation that support IPS job coaching should also be recorded in the rehabilitation plan. “Exercise, for example, could support coping at work. Would it be possible to participate in an exercise group through the outpatient clinic?” Tomi ponders. Starting work and progressing may lead to a temporary loss of resources for a number of reasons. “We need to be aware of the risks and recognise the signs of deterioration in someone’s condition, such as the destabilisation of their sleep schedule. We must also recognise that learning a new job, for example, may take some time.” Tomi adds. He states that the cooperation between the IPS employment specialist and the multiprofessional team plays a very important role in this matter. If the job coaching proved to be unsuitable, a contingency plan must also be provided. “It must be possible to apply for help in another way if it doesn’t work out,” says Tomi. “If the job coaching was not timely, the outpatient clinic’s groups, the Club Houses or different courses that accumulate competence may offer exactly what a person needs at the moment.” Tomi continues.
An IPS employment specialist closely supports the coachee. They try to tackle any challenges quickly. However, an employment specialist does not work as a nurse or offer rehabilitation of social skills. They aim to act as an active link between working life and the care/rehabilitation team. In addition, an IPS employment specialist does not replace peer support. “Many people wonder about coping at work, how many hours a week do they dare to work, social situations in a new workplace, and also whether or not they tell about an IPS employment specialist at the workplace, and if so, how” Tomi says. “Peer support helps many people in this respect,” he concludes. Tomi and three employment specialists will develop a peer support group for the IPS regional pilot at HUS Psychiatry and Uusimaa TE Office. The team’s pilot is in progress, and it will soon be time for evaluation. Additionally, the aim of the regional pilot is to further develop peer activities and the opportunities for the coachees to provide feedback. It is essential to ensure that extensive support is available, implemented by a multiprofessional team. “This would make it easier for employment specialists to use their skills in finding work and starting to work,” says Tomi.