How can rehabilitation professionals help me?
If lupus interferes with your ability to function physically, mentally, at home, or on the job, you may find it useful to seek professional help.
Cognitive therapists will help you develop techniques and strategies to cope with memory loss and/or cognitive dysfunction and improve concentration.
Physical therapists will teach you muscle strengthening programs and exercises.
Occupational therapists can help devise ways to reduce physical stresses to your body, by evaluating your workstations and recommending a variety of assistive devices to ensure proper body mechanics. They can help you rearrange household workstations and work spaces, and organize tasks and chores to make them more manageable.
Vocational rehabilitation counselors can help evaluate your work capabilities, based on your current skills and any limitations you may have because of complications from lupus and related conditions. They can then suggest new work opportunities — for example, training for a job that involves less sun exposure, or that avoids repetitive motions that aggravate painful joints. They may suggest productive outlets for your creative talents — writing, artwork, crafts — that can be done from home when you feel well. Vocational rehabilitation counselors can also provide resources for financial assistance or social services.
Leaving the workplace
In some cases, leaving the workforce completely is the best choice for your health. To help with the transition to your new living circumstances, there may be resources available for you through local, state, or federal government and non-profit agencies. In addition, your employer may have short-term and/or long-term disability benefits available for you while you allow your health to improve. Your human resources director will be able to tell you more about disability benefits.
The primary source for financial assistance for persons who cannot continue to work due to medical disability is the federal government, through the Social Security Administration (SSA). More information on applying for these disability benefits is available through the SSA.