Craig Hospital has received a $5,000 grant from Xcel Energy. The grant will help fund Craig’s Community Reintegration program, which gives newly disabled individuals the skills and opportunity to become economically self-sufficient again.
A permanent disability brought on by a catastrophic injury causes profound economic changes for patients and their families. Beyond functional deficits, a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury depletes financial resources and places work and career plans on hold, causing further economic setbacks. The Community Reintegration (CR) program works toward returning patients to their former work environment whenever possible.
As a patient is nearing discharge, the CR team conducts work readiness assessments and worksite evaluations to look for safety, access and accommodation needs. CR staff offer the employer guidance on reintegrating a former employee back into the work environment and on accommodations that will allow the employee to be successful. Once the patient has returned to work, the CR staff visits the patient at the worksite to ensure things are going well, slowly tapering off as the patient and employer begins to feel more comfortable.
When a patient cannot return to a job after injury or were previously unemployed, the CR team helps with career exploration, interest testing and assistance with returning or applying to a university or trade school.
The CR staff also connects the patient to resources provided by the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), one of the CR program’s most significant collaborative partners. However, due to a budget crisis, DVR is unable to fund Craig as it has in the past.
“Many insurance companies do not often fund vocational services and so much of what we do is dependent on state funding,” says Tiffany Heck, Community Reintegration supervisor. “As our DVR resources are currently limited, we have to look for other funding sources—grants like the recent award from Xcel Energy will be essential to helping this program survive.”