The Back2Work Project is an innovative, evidence based vocational rehabilitation program offered to inpatients of the Spinal Injuries Unit in Brisbane. People with newly acquired SCI often have recent work experience, diverse skills, and are extremely motivated to return to or engage in employment – making them a highly desirable cohort of participants for the new DES. Back2Work aims to increase the number of people returning to work after injury, reduce the time they take to achieve this, and increase employment confidence for participants who are unable to return to their pre-injury role. It is actively encouraging and facilitating links with local DES providers after people return home. A network of regional providers across Queensland and Northern NSW is being established, and participating providers are offered training and support for Back2Work referrals. This interactive workshop will cover: • the basic anatomy and functional implications of SCI • the Back2Work Project’s service model and most recent research results from Griffith University • a translation of research findings and learnings from our Pilot into a range of practical, best practice strategies. This will assist DES providers to connect with and effectively support people with both newly acquired and longer term SCI.

Tania Goossen

Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor - Back2Work Project
Spinal Life Australia

Tania is a registered Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor, holds a Master of Human Services (Rehab), and has worked in the DES and disability employment field for over 25 years - 20 of which have been with Spinal Life Australia. Her passion for supporting people with spinal cord injuries to achieve their vocational goals, and a desire to improve the service landscape for people with newly acquired injuries, has led to the development and implementation of the Back2Work Project - Queensland's first early intervention, vocational rehabilitation program in a clinical setting. Tania is co-located in the Spinal Injuries Unit at Princess Alexandra Hospital, assisting patients to explore their options around returning to work or study, or starting a new career. This 3-year evidence based pilot project supports people from across Queensland and Northern NSW, and aims to link newly injured people in to DES services in their local communities, post-discharge.

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