Essentials in Return to Work Issues: A Manufacturing Worker With Prostate Cancer: Beyond the Abstract

A 55 year old male production worker with a medical history of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and prostate cancer was taking multiple 30 minute rest room breaks during his shift, causing his work to decline in quality and in achieving production quotas. The employee worked in a clean room environment and wore a required Tyvek suit. 

In the fitness for duty  evaluation, the worker disclosed he had numerous episodes of urinary incontinence since his prostatectomy and subsequent radiation treatments. His incontinence required repeated and extensive rest room breaks while he changed out of a Tyvek suit and his wet clothes, cleaned up, and redressed. 

The employee was granted two weeks of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/short term disability. He was given a supply of Tyvek suits and condom catheters to practice using and wearing under the Tyvek suit prior to work return. This offered immediate improvement in his symptom management and resultant performance which enabled him to successfully return to work. He was also referred for pelvic floor muscle exercises to assist in long-term symptom resolution. 

Written by: Candace L Sandal

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