Dr Mary Wyatt | Telephonic methods can be used to assess the clinical and work participation needs of people with common health problems.
This is one of a series of articles on the use of telephone for case management, based on a recent UK report. Click here for an overview of telephonic case management. There is robust evidence from numerous sources that telephonic methods can be used to assess the clinical and work participation needs of people with common health problems. And that use of the telephone can be as effective as face-to-face approaches. more >>
Dr Mary Wyatt | The elements of quality case management that achieved impressive results.
Why we are pro case management summarises the results of a study published this year in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.* The research shows case management can substantially reduce time lost from work, and medical and total costs. In this article we describe the elements of case management that achieved impressive results. What was the intervention? The key component was maintaining a connected relationship between the employee who had sustained the injury and their employer. more >>
Dr Mary Wyatt | Early contact with injured workers is good for RTW, right? Well, that depends! It's not so much what you do as how you do it.
We often talk about early contact with injured workers as a key ingredient in successful return to work outcomes. However, there are many people involved in return to work and early contact may mean different things to different people. For example, a decade ago contacting the injured worker three weeks after their injury was considered to be early intervention. Nowadays, day one contact is more likely to be considered early intervention. more >>
A new survey has found that people are more willing to disclose their experience of having a mental health problem and receiving treatment. "We know that people are better at recognising the symptoms of depression than they used to be. It is also possible that there is less stigma around disclosure, although we still have a lot of work to do in that area." Researchers say these findings can contribute to the design of public education and anti-stigma interventions. Such policies could facilitate early treatment-seeking by improving recognition of mental disorder signs and symptoms, knowledge of appropriate treatments and minimise the impact of stigma as a barrier to seeking professional help.
A survey of Australian accident victims has found that the stress of submitting an injury claim can increase the likelihood of poor health outcomes in the future, Reuters reports. Stress caused by process, delays and related medical assessments can all lead to higher levels of disability in individuals who have submitted a claim. "A third of the claimants reported high stress from understanding the claims process and another third were stressed by delays in that process. A slightly smaller proportion said repeated medical evaluations and concern for the amount of money they would receive were sources of stress." David M. Studdert of Stanford University in California said, "We were surprised by the size of the compensation effects on outcomes like level of disability and quality of life - they were fairly strong."
Walking while you work may not only improve an employee’s health, it may also boost productivity, according to new research from the University of Minnesota just published in PLOS ONE. Carlson School of Management professor of Work and Organizations Avner Ben-Ner and his coauthors studied employees using treadmills instead of office chairs as they work. Their offices were refitted to have a computer, phone, and writing space on a desk in front of a treadmill to be operated by the employee at up to two mph.The results of the study were encouraging – the treadmills had a significantly favorable impact on both physical activity and work performance. As would be expected, walkers were burning more calories than before the study began – by about 7 to 8 percent a day. "It’s not a lot, but if you take a sedentary office worker and you spread it around the day, that’s a good outcome...For the duration of the study, productivity increased by close to a point. That’s a substantial increase."
Happiness is more than just a feeling; it is something we can all practise on a daily basis. But people are better at some ‘happy habits’ than others. In fact, the one habit that corresponds most closely with us being satisfied with our lives overall – self-acceptance – is often the one we practise least. 5,000 people surveyed by the charity Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do Something Different, rated themselves between 1 and 10 on ten habits identified from the latest scientific research as being key to happiness. "This survey shows that practising self-acceptance is one thing that could make the biggest difference to many people’s happiness. Exercise is also known to lift mood so if people want a simple, daily way to fee happier they should get into the habit of being more physically active too."
Within the health care industry and beyond, daily exposure to stress can lead to negative consequences for employees both on and off the job – from apathy and burnout to physical illness or mental impairments. New Open Access research published in Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health suggests the implementation of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program can reduce employee stress and burnout. Results showed statistical improvement in both overall health and wellness of the nurses at each point of intervention. "Mindfulness is defined as a self-directed practice for relaxing the body and calming the mind through focusing on present-moment awareness," explain researchers. "The practice is ideal for anyone from front line call center agents to busy executives."
An independent review into WorkCover NSW has found the scheme is skewed in favour of employers, ABC News reports. The WorkCover Independent Review Office has found that the NSW workers' compensation system places more restrictions on employers than insurance companies in using lawyers. The WorkCover Independent Review Officer, Kim Garling, says this is unfair for employees. "They're restricted from getting legal advice about work capacity which is one of the main tests for eligibility for compensation," he said. "And that's unfortunate because there is no-one to turn to if they don't know about our office." Further, the report says employees are at a "double disadvantage" because insurers are not required to inform employees of their appeal rights when denied insurance for medical treatment.