DVA's rehabilitation terms and definitions

Last updated: 
15 January 2020


Terms and definitions
Term DVA definition

Accepted Condition

An accepted condition means an injury or disease that has been determined under the VEA, the MRCA or DRCA to be caused or made worse by a person's Australian Defence Force service, and for which liability has been accepted by DVA.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Assessment

This is an assessment of the normal daily routines of an individual and their capacity to perform these activities, including personal hygiene activities and domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning, and washing.

The principle underpinning an ADL assessment is that by knowing the person's limitations and providing the right support at the right time, this will facilitate recovery and help the client develop confidence in managing their service related injury or illness as well as they can.

Business day

Any day that is not a Saturday or Sunday or a public holiday in the location where the Rehabilitation Services are being performed. This includes 'national public holidays' promulgated in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, as well as standard public holidays that apply in each jurisdiction.

Business Hours

From 8.00am to 6.00pm (in the place where the notice is received or the services are delivered) on a Business Day.

Case closure

Case closure is when a rehabilitation plan is ceased or closed. Closure documentation is forwarded to relevant parties showing outcomes of the Plan and reasons for closure.

Case conference

A case conference is an activity that allows stakeholders to share information, with the intent of developing a shared plan to assist a client to achieve their rehabilitation goals. They provide an opportunity to discuss complex cases; situations where progress has stalled or to be proactive in sharing information early in a case to ensure all stakeholders are working towards the same goal.


Department of Veterans' Affairs


A determination is the name given to any decision in writing, made by the Rehabilitation Delegate acting for the MRCC on a claim under the DRCA/ MRCA or VEA. This can be a decision regarding claims for benefits, or to approve or close a client's rehabilitation plan.


Department of Veterans' Affairs

DVA Accredited

DVA accredited rehabilitation provider and consultants must have Comcare accreditation or Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) approval and meet specific DVA requirements, with these being:

  • Comcare accreditation or MRCC approval
  • demonstrated experience supporting other workers from a similar environment (such as police or emergency services personnel)
  • experience in assisting clients with complex medical conditions to move to a new job with a new employer, to change careers and/ or move into a new industry
  • experience in translating specific skills and qualifications to other industries
  • completed DVA e-learning courses demonstrating a knowledge of military culture and DVA services
  • a minimum of two years' hands on experience working with clients in medical management, vocational and/ or psychosocial rehabilitation areas.

Early Intervention

To provide assistance as soon as possible after an injury or illness, regardless of any workers' compensation claim.

Employer Incentive Scheme

A scheme that provides access to incentive payments to encourage sustainable ongoing employment.

Ergonomic Assessment

An ergonomic assessment is intended where there are minimal functional limitations experienced by the client. It entails a brief on-site review of a workstation/ work zone; provision of education, adjustments and advice to provide suitable adaption to accommodate an accepted condition, minimising the risk of injury and to assist the client to maintain suitable and sustainable employment. This service is intended to be undertaken only after a worker has made use of the employer's self-help resources. An ergonomic assessment may be requested for a client's home office environment where the home office is to be used for an approved rehabilitation intervention.

Face to Face

'Face to face' communication can occur by various means. This may include internet based technology (for example, zoom, skype) videoconference, or in person meeting.

Functional Capacity Evaluation

A Functional Capacity Evaluation is an objective assessment of the client's physical and cognitive abilities and limitations with regards to work performance or general functioning. It comprises a series of standardised tests usually completed by a suitably qualified and experienced professional.

Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS)

GAS is an individualised outcome measure. The method is used in DVA's rehabilitation program to determine appropriate individual goals, measure those goals against tailor made scales and, importantly, measure change and progress in a clients' functioning, employment, social and wellbeing outcomes.

Graduated Return to Work

Where a client, in accordance with medical advices returns to specific duties on reduced hours, or assumes new duties and increases these hours or duties gradually, as the condition which led to the compensation claim improves.

Home Assessment

This assessment is similar assessment to the ADL assessment and may be held at the same time by the same professional, usually an Occupational Therapist or Nurse. The focus of the Home Assessment is on normal home routines and the performance of such. This assessment may identify the need for aids and appliances.


An impairment is the loss, the loss of use, or the damage or malfunction, of any bodily system or function of such system or function. A permanent impairment is one that is likely to continue indefinitely.

Initial Rehabilitation Assessment

An Initial Rehabilitation Assessment (IRA) is the initial assessment to determine a client's specific rehabilitation needs. The assessment may comprise a number of specialised assessments. The IRA informs an assessment report and development of a rehabilitation plan. This assessment is initiated by the release of a Referral from DVA and may comprise a number of assessment services, as outlined within the Rehabilitation Assessment Services section of this document. The aim is to:

  • Provide timely assessment of rehabilitation requirements from a whole of person perspective.
  • Reduce potential worsening of existing conditions and minimise the potential development of avoidable chronic and long term illnesses.
  • Introduce the client to the DVA rehabilitation process and the available services.
  • Establish a positive and supportive rehabilitation environment.
  • Identify and manage specialised assessments by suitably qualified professionals.
  • Review and identify other services that the client could potentially access.

Job Seeking Assistance

Job Seeking Assistance involves the implementation and support of recommendations from a Vocational Assessment that are specifically approved in a Rehabilitation Plan. Job Seeking Assistance supports a client to identify an appropriate alternative employment role and ultimately secure meaningful, paid employment. Job Seeking Assistance activities include:

  • Assistance with resume writing
  • Job seeking through a range of medium, such as internet, local newspapers, networking
  • Assistance with application writing and selection criteria
  • Monitoring and support through the job seeking process
  • Assistance with interview preparation
  • Mock interviews.
  • Introducing the client to Job Placement and Employment agencies.
  • Development of employer networking and cold canvassing skills.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A measurable value that demonstrates how efficiently an organisation is achieving its key business objectives. Key Performance Indicators may also refer to the standards of service specified in a contractual agreement that measures how effectively the organisation is performing compared to a Statement of Requirement.


Liability is the effect of a determination which creates a legal obligation to pay compensation in accordance with the DRCA/ MRCA.

Life Skills

Life skills are defined by the World Health Organisation, as 'abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enables individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life'. Life skills are usually associated with managing and living a better life. Life skills interventions focus on personal development and skills acquisition to support the client to effectively cope with the activities and challenges of daily living.

Medical Management Rehabilitation

Medical management rehabilitation is the monitoring of treatment measures to restore or maximise a person's physical and psychological function. This may include assistance focused on helping the client navigate through their medical appointments, treatment regimes, medical information, self-care needs, requirement for aids and appliances and other related activities.

Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA)

Legislation that provides for treatment, rehabilitation and compensation for members and former members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), their dependants and other eligible persons in respect to injury, disease or death related to services rendered on or after 1 July.

"The aim of rehabilitation is to maximise the potential to restore a person who has an impairment, or an incapacity for service or work, as a result of an injury or disease to at least the same physical and psychological state, and at least the same social, vocational and educational status, as he or she had before the injury or disease."

[section 38 of MRCA]

Non Vocational Rehabilitation

DVA Rehabilitation has a broader focus than vocational rehabilitation.

In recognition that psychosocial factors are often the main predictors of successful rehabilitation outcomes, a DVA rehabilitation plan may address issues that may not be directly related to an accepted condition, but that pose a barrier to achievement of rehabilitation goals. In this context, non-vocational rehabilitation refers to those cases where a return to work is not a primary rehabilitation goal.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation

Psychosocial rehabilitation refers to the use of activities which may improve a client's quality of life, and in so doing support achievement of their overall rehabilitation goals. The aim is to assist a client in accepting, adapting and moving forward following an injury, by improving functioning, recovery, community participation and quality of life. Activities are aimed at helping people address potential barriers to recovery and rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation Activity

Rehabilitation Activities deliver direct rehabilitation services and benefits to a client. Rehabilitation Activities are not provided without having completed an assessment process and an approved rehabilitation plan to ensure the correct service is provided, to the appropriate level, within the most appropriate timeframe for the client's condition.

The client's Rehabilitation Plan is the authority upon which Rehabilitation Activities will be authorised. No activities are to be implemented without, or prior to, the formal approval of the draft Rehabilitation Plan by DVA.

Services may be undertaken as standalone activities or in conjunction with other services outlined in a Rehabilitation Plan.

Rehabilitation Assessment

Rehabilitation Assessment Services are evaluation services, undertaken by suitably qualified health professionals, to identify the rehabilitation wants and needs for a client, and from this inform recommended rehabilitation interventions required by and for a client.

Rehabilitation Management

Rehabilitation Management are the services required to ensure the appropriate assessments and interventions are delivered in a timely manner, by appropriately qualified professionals, to the required standard and with due regards to DVA's obligations to both its clients and the Australian Government.

Rehabilitation Consultant

A DVA accredited and suitably qualified person, engaged by a Rehabilitation Provider, to assess an injured or ill client's readiness and capacity to participate in a rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation consultants are usually one of the following professionals:

  • rehabilitation counsellor
  • occupational therapist
  • physiotherapist
  • exercise physiologist
  • psychologist
  • nurse
  • medical practitioner
  • speech pathologist
  • social worker

Rehabilitation Delegate

A DVA employee who coordinates and manages the rehabilitation of clients and has delegations under the VEA/ DRCA/ MRCA.

Rehabilitation Goal

Rehabilitation Goals identify the outcome that the client seeks to achieve through their rehabilitation plan. These will be informed by the rehabilitation assessment and rehabilitation provider recommendations and negotiated with the client. They will have a vocational, medical management or psychosocial focus. An example for each is provided below.

  • Vocational goal — return to sustainable part-time work
  • Medical Management goal — identify appropriate medical professionals in my local area and start accessing treatment regularly
  • Psychosocial goal — to increase level of social activity and community participation

A client may be working towards a mix of vocational, medical management and/ or psychosocial goals concurrently, or may initially focus on achieving specific types of goals (for example, medical management goals) before moving on to others. This will be determined by what is most appropriate for each client given their individual circumstances and needs.

Rehabilitation Plan

The Rehabilitation Plan is prepared by the Rehabilitation Provider in collaboration with the client and approved by the Rehabilitation Delegate for the delivery of Rehabilitation Services, in such form as notified by the Department as necessary. The Rehabilitation Plan commences after an Initial Rehabilitation Assessment has been completed. It is founded upon the recommendations in the Assessment Report.

Rehabilitation Plan Development

The development of a Rehabilitation Plan commences after an Initial Rehabilitation Assessment has been completed. It is founded upon the recommendations in the Assessment Report and will reference this as required.

Rehabilitation Program

A program that consists of a structured series of interventions, aimed to improve an individual's quality of life and wellbeing.

Rehabilitation Provider

DVA-approved Rehabilitation Providers are organisations accredited by Comcare and have met additional DVA criteria to deliver vocational rehabilitation services. They engage employees who have appropriate qualifications, experience and expertise to provide timely intervention, with services based on the assessed need of the client.

The Rehabilitation Provider is responsible for:

  • organising assessments for services and support required by the client,
  • working with the client to develop their Rehabilitation Plan,
  • managing and coordinating the client's Rehabilitation Plan, and liaising with DVA Rehabilitation Delegates about progress towards rehabilitation goals.


The process by which a rehabilitation consultant is approved to work with DVA clients.

Return to work

A phrase used to describe a vocational rehabilitation goal (following an injury/ illness) to return a client to suitable employment. For a DVA client, activities relating to a return-to-work goal provide assistance necessary to achieve a meaningful and sustainable employment outcome to at least the level of their pre-injury employment.

Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA)

Legislation that provides for treatment, rehabilitation and compensation suffered as a result of peacetime and peacekeeping service up to and including 30 June 2004 and operational service between 7 April 1994 and 30 June 2004.

Self-Employment Assistance

Assistance to determine if self-employment is a viable option, and if so, assisting the client, through access to advisory and specialised services, to being in a position to earn an income from their business.

Self-Management of Health Conditions

Self-management of health condition(s) focuses on personal development and skills acquisition to support the client to effectively cope with the activities and challenges arising from their health condition(s). In general, these are short term interventions — for example, 6-to-8-week programs or counselling.

Social Connectedness, meaningful engagement and family functioning

Social Connectedness, Meaningful Engagement & Family Functioning aims to enhance the client's engagement with their broader community, their social interactions through the development of skills and confidence and their relationships. These interventions should be focused on assisting clients to overcome barriers to achieving their rehabilitation goals.

Education and Training Support

Education and Training Support provides assistance in relation to any DVA approved Training and Further Education undertaken by a client. The aim is to assist with preparing a client for the training and education process, and also to provide oversight throughout the duration of the relevant activity.

Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986 (VEA)

Legislation that covers service in wartime and certain operational deployments, as well as certain peacetime service between 7 December 1972 and 30 June 2004.

Legislation that provides for vocational assistance for veteran's that meet service criteria.

Veterans' Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme (VVRS)

The VVRS is a voluntary scheme operated by DVA to help veterans eligible under the VEA who need assistance to obtain or hold suitable paid employment.

Vocational Assessment

An objective process of determining and reporting on a client's current and future potential to secure employment. The assessment will consider a client's functional capacity, transferrable skills experience and other attributes, possible education and training pathways, as well as other relevant factors which can influence the attainment of suitable and sustainable employment.

Vocational Counselling

The aim of Vocational Counselling is to ensure the client is psychologically prepared to participate in job search activities, and to equip the client with knowledge, skills and strategies to acquire and maintain employment.

Vocational Counselling includes:

  • Adjustment to injury counselling
  • Motivational counselling
  • Career counselling
  • Strategies to tailor job applications to the requirements of particular jobs.
  • Preparation for discussion on and disclosure of disabilities, where this issue may arise.

Vocational Rehabilitation

Provision of assistance, based on assessed needs, necessary to achieve a meaningful and sustainable employment outcome.

The aim of a vocational rehabilitation program is to return a client to the workforce to at least the level of their pre-injury employment.

Broadly, services may include vocational assessment, guidance or counselling, functional capacity assessments, work experience, vocational training and retraining, further education and job seeking assistance.

Whilst returning to paid employment may be the primary goal to work towards, other forms of 'employment' including voluntary employment may be identified as a successful vocational outcome.

Work Environment Assessment

Assesses the suitability of work duties and provides a better understanding of the nature of the client's work. It assesses the physical, psychosocial, cognitive and communication demands of the job, specific to the client. A Work Environment Assessment comprises an Ergonomic Assessment in addition to considering the demands of a position, and the broader work environment in relation to the client.

Work Trial Agreement

Documentation related to a work trial. An agreement signed by all participants — client, employer, rehabilitation provider and rehabilitation delegate.

Work Trial

A temporary, time-limited and unpaid work placement, which can provide opportunity for a client to:

  • Test out their capacity for work.
  • Test out a particular field of work.
  • Gain new and update existing skills.
  • Gain confidence in themselves and their abilities in a work setting.
  • Form social relationships and expanded support networks.
  • Gain a recent civilian work history and referees.
  • Become more competitive in the job seeking process.
  • Promote themselves to prospective employers.

This intervention may be supported following recommendations from a Vocational Assessment, and any other assessments as relevant.


Workplace is the means any place of employment in which employees or contractors work, other than any part of such premises that is primarily used as private dwelling.