Case Studies

Non-Compensable Case Study

A senior lawyer, Ms Smith had been taking time off work on an intermittent basis due to suffering from depression. The Partner wanted to support Ms Smith and therefore managed the case at a local level, offering Ms Smith to take time off whenever she wanted.

This continued for a two year period, during which the depression had then resulted in the development of alcohol abuse (whereby alcohol was used as a coping mechanism for the depression, albeit maladaptive). Performance issues were also becoming apparent in Ms Smith.

Over time, the Partner felt out of their depth in terms of how to address the multiple issues with Ms Smith and as such approached HR to ask what to do next.

HR telephoned Resilia and made a referral requesting expert support.

Resilia’s Consultant Psychologist met with Ms Smith and conducted an Independent Psychological Assessment, which reviewed the flags impacting on Ms Smith’s recovery with a holistic assessment.

As a result of the assessment, it was clear that Ms Smith was not engaging in best practise treatment to support her recovery, as well as there being some stressors in her personal life and triggers in her workplace which were impacting on her recovery.

It was recommended that any ongoing performance discussions be put on hold until such time that Ms Smith engage in best practise treatment. An alcohol inpatient stay was recommended in the first instance, whereby on discharge Ms Smith accessed ongoing outpatient support with a treating psychologist, treating Psychiatrist, and GP. These referrals were facilitated upon discussion with Resilia.

The timing of Ms Smith’s return to work coincided with her stabilisation of symptoms of depression and addressing her issues with alcohol. This was done with Resilia consulting her treating team.

Upon Ms Smith’s return to work, a management plan was implemented which clearly identified reasonable adjustments to Ms Smith’s working days, hours, and duties through her period of recovery. This management plan gained input from key stakeholders:  Ms Smith, the Partner, HR, and her treating team, who all agreed on the parameters of the management plan in a meeting.

Upon sign off on the plan, Resilia’s Consultant Psychologist conducted weekly check-ins with all key stakeholders to ensure that the management plan was being followed and that any minor adjustments occurred due to the presence of triggers or stressors.

During this return to work period, Resilia was also able to provide coaching to the Partner around supportive leadership and having discussions with Ms Smith around her workload and performance.

Every four weeks, a case conference was conducted with the key to upgrade the duties, days and hours of Ms Smith. This continued for a four month period until such time Ms Smith was able to be cleared for full hours, days, and duties. This process allowed Ms Smith to return to work after five months. In this time, performance issues were addressed as her symptoms of distress had abated. 

Ms Smith’s file was closed after four weeks of monitoring her successful return to work. 

Life Insurance Case Study

Mr Lee, a 36 year old, Bank Teller was referred to Resilia by a life insurer after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The impact of Mr Lee’s illness on his occupational functioning resulted in him being terminated from work and detached from the workforce for over 12 months. Mr Lee had an aged 65 income protection policy.

Upon review of the referral information, Resilia recognised that Mr Lee recovery had become ‘stuck’ and there appeared to be inconsistent information on the file in relation to Mr Lee’s capacity.  Resilia therefore completed an Independent Psychological Assessment (IPA) to clearly identify the barriers or ‘flags’ impacting Mr Lee’s recovery, review the efficacy of his current treatment and identify rehabilitation and recovery recommendations.

The IPA identified that Mr Lee no longer met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, while his psychological symptoms were still present, they were sub-clinical in nature. Resilia facilitated a referral to a new psychologist (he was previously consulting a Social Worker for supportive counselling) who specialised in best practice Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, to assist with increasing his coping strategies and emotional resilience.  The IPA also identified that Mr Wang had an external locus of control and a strong sense of entitlement with regards to staying off work indefinitely while he recovered from his illness.   Resilia arranged a referral for Mr Lee to participate in The Resilience Box ProgramTM (TRB) to build Mr Lee’s self-efficacy and encourage behavioural changes, taking a more active role in his own recovery/ life, through strengthening his own personal resilience.

For a period of 8 weeks, Resilia monitored Mr Lee’s participation in TRB Program and conducted regular reviews the new psychologist. Upon the completion of the TRB program and eight treatment sessions, Resilia arranged a medical case conference with all parties (TRB Psychologist, Treating Psychologist, GP and Resilia Rehabilitation Consultant) to discuss Mr Lee’s treatment progress, current work capacity and to collaboratively develop a Return to Work Plan.   During the case conference, Mr Lee’s TRB post-program measures were discussed, they demonstrated a significant reduction of depressive symptoms (DASS42 scores) and overall improvement in emotional welling (WEMWBS) and motivation to lead a more productive life.  His treating psychologists talked through the outcomes measures she had utilised during therapy which also objectively confirmed symptoms reduction.   It was agreed during the case conference that Mr Lee was ready to engage in a vocational assessment and counselling to identify suitable employment goals and commence planning for his return back to employment.

Resilia completed a Vocational Assessment and four subsequent vocational counselling sessions with Mr Lee.  During these session Resilia discussed at lengths the health benefits of work literature and administered occupational inventories such as the STRONG and MBTI to engage Mr Lee in his career planning and exploration. Mr Lee identified two career options that were consistent with his interests and relevant to his education and training.

Over the next six weeks Mr Lee engaged in Resilia’s Accelerate-Employment Skills Program, to   boost his job seeking confidence and develop his job seeking skills/resources.  This included Mr Lee participating in mock job interviews, developing a LinkedIn Profile and actively applying for employment.  Mr Lee opposed the recommendation of concurrently participating in voluntary work to increase his work skills and work conditioning.  We therefore came to a mutual agreement that Mr Lee would engage in a Functional Restoration Program (FRP) to increase his activities of daily living and prepare for his return back to the workforce. The FRP required Mr Lee to wake up each morning at 7.30am, have a shower, put on clean clothes, and sit at his computer applying for employment or completing Resilia job seeking activities for 1.5 hours. Mr Lee’s FRP also included the completion of activities such as daily exercise, completing a free online computer course, mindfulness activities and ensuring the he retired to bed at the same time each night. (It is noted that at the time of referral Mr Lee would previously sit up all night watching movies and sleep during the day until approximate 3pm).  Resilia would monitor the completion of Mr Lee’s FRP using journal logs and regular communication via email and phone.

Approximately eight weeks later, Mr Lee successfully secured full-time employment as a Duty Manager, working for a large international Hotel Group. The job design of Mr Lee’s new role was suitable to his interest areas which included; having autonomy, working in a customer facing role and having managerial responsibilities.  Resilia monitored Mr Lee within his new position for a period of six weeks, during that time he successfully completed an intensive induction program and continued psychological treatment.  Mr Lee finalised his claim for income protection with his insurance company two weeks later.  

Workers Compensation Case Study

Ms Black was referred to Resilia following acceptance of her workers compensation claim for depression and anxiety, allegedly caused from bullying by her manager, Ms Smith.

Resilia’s Rehabilitation Psychologist met with Ms Black and conducted an Initial Assessment. During the assessment it was evident that Ms Black was experiencing significant psychological symptoms, and that she believed that her chances of returning to work successfully were minimal. Through the use of motivational interviewing techniques, and some of the activities from within The Resilience Box TM, Ms Black came to the realisation that her work provided her with an important sense of purpose, social connectedness and meaning in her life, and that without the normal daily routine it once provided her, she was beginning to feel “worthless”. Ms Black then agreed to participate in mediation with Ms Smith, and attempt to overcome the conflict within the workplace. 

Resilia assisted Ms Black engage in psychological treatment, and after she was equipped with emotional regulation skills and coping strategies, mediation services commenced alongside rehabilitation support. 

Resilia assigned a second staff member – a Registered Psychologist, who also has further qualifications in mediation, to conduct pre-mediation sessions with both Ms Smith and Ms Black. Following these individual sessions, both parties were brought into a mediation session, which was facilitated by the Mediator and agreements were made and recorded by way of a Workplace Relationship Agreement, approved by all. The mediation was successful in overcoming some differences in perception between Ms Smith and Ms Black, and both parties were able to identify how they may have contributed to the tension and conflict between them. They both ultimately agreed to the items outlined in the Workplace Relationship Agreement, and they agreed to look towards a future of having an amicable working relationship with each other. 

Resilia’s Rehabilitation Psychologist facilitated a medical case conference with Ms Smith and her NTD on the day following the mediation, and she was upgraded to having a full work capacity with the restriction that the Workplace Relationship Agreement was to be adhered to, and monitored through the rehabilitation process. 

Ms Black returned to work the day after the medical case conference, performing pre-injury hours and duties. Resilia monitored the quality of the relationship between Ms Black and Ms Smith, and feedback from both parties was that they found the mediation process had helped them form an amicable working relationship, and that they understood more about each other’s ways of thinking and responding, which has assisted with maintaining positive interactions. 

Ms Black’s file was closed after four weeks of monitoring her successful return to work, and finalisation of her claim.

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