Vocational Rehabilitation

Pursuit of personal rehabilitation goals can enhance a person’s quality of life, sense of purpose, self identity, competence, independence, general health, and energy.

Getting Patients Back to Work and School

The Network encourages providers to promote optimal care for individuals with End Stage Renal Disease. Optimal care not only includes safe and quality care, but must also include efforts to improve patient independence, quality of life, and rehabilitation.

The ESRD Federal Regulations specify that the interdisciplinary team (IDT) must assist patients in achieving and sustaining an appropriate level of productive activity, as desired by the patient and make rehabilitation and vocational rehabilitation referrals as appropriate. In addition, the patient plan of care must reflect the evaluation of the patient’s physical activity level and referral to vocational and physical rehabilitation services when appropriate.

The Network would like to offer some suggestive strategies which may be beneficial in promoting vocational rehabilitation in your facility. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing the patients with job retention strategies
  • Making referrals to job-training or re-training, employment counseling and/or placement services
  • Conducting timely patient assessments
  • Reviewing your facility’s practices to determine if they are work friendly (i.e. Does your facility prioritize schedules for people who work or attend school? Does your facility encourage and support home dialysis options?)
  • Keeping brochures and other materials on rehabilitation in public areas
  • Encouraging all staff to reinforce with patients the belief that the patients can work while on dialysis and after successful transplantation

Statistics by State in New England ESRD Facilities

IPRO ESRD Network of New England collects Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) data from each ESRD facility in the Annual Facility Survey utilizing standardized CMS data elements and definitions. The Network encourages each facility to establish and define rehabilitation goals for their patients and to work with their local vocational rehabilitation counselors to determine appropriate referrals.

In 2014, there were 3,388 dialysis patients between the ages of 18-54 years old in the New England States of CT, MA, ME, NH, RI and VT. Out of that number 18.5% of patients (n=628) were working full or part time, 1.7% of patients (n=56) were in vocational rehabilitation (VR) services and 1% of patients (n=33) were in school full or part time.

State Aged
Patients Receiving Services from
Voc Rehab

Patient Employed
Full-Time or

Patients Attending School Full-Time
or Part-Time
Connecticut 1,046 17 206 9
Maine 223 6 43 3
Massachusetts 1,561 23 288 17
New Hampshire 226 2 39 1
Rhode Island 272 8 44 3
Vermont 60 0 8 0
Network Total 3,388 56 628 33

CROWNWeb data, December 31, 2014