When psychological injury claims become “stuck”

Psychological injury claims are a major concern for Australian workplaces. By their very nature, they are a complex, costly, and multifaceted process that involves the interaction of the individual, organisation, and system working together to influence a worker’s recovery and the durability of their return to work. 

Why psychological injury claims may become “stuck”

Sometimes when a claim gets submitted, certain indicators can impede recovery and return to work outcomes, resulting in psychological injury claims becoming “stuck”. Some of the common reasons that these claims may hit a roadblock include: 

  • Inaccurate clinical diagnosis: When an injured worker has an inaccurate clinical diagnosis, this ultimately influences the wrong treatment. The treating medical practitioner’s role is to manage the person on claim’s injury and treatment plan. An inaccurate clinical diagnosis can impair recovery, symptom stabilisation and return to work outcomes as individuals aren’t receiving appropriate treatment that allows them to return to their pre-injury state, and pre-injury duties.  
  • Lack of communication (I.e., avoidance of rehabilitation, employer or insurer contact): There are direct links between a lack of communication and negative worker’s compensation outcomes, including the risk of protracted claims and longer return to work outcomes. Coordinating communication between all stakeholders involved in the claim is vital for outcome-focused decision-making that takes a person-centred approach to the claim and works to align goals and expectations between all parties. 
  • Complex psychological issues without appropriate treatment: A coordinated approach to recovery and return to work planning is needed to support individual needs and their capacity to recover at work / return to work safely. An appropriate treatment plan needs to be inclusive of goals, timeframes, and actions to measure progress and keep recovery and RTW on track.  
  • Passive attitude to treatment / rehabilitation / recovery: A passive attitude to treatment, rehabilitation and recovery can result in an absence from work and hinder recovery outcomes. Lack of proactive recovery actions by injured workers is a strong predictor of claims at risk of becoming protracted. Working with an injured worker to improve their self-efficacy, recovery expectations and perceived work ability can all contribute to build their resilience and shifting their attitude from passive to proactive. A proactive approach is one in which they can focus on the things they can control and take an active role in their recovery.  

What can you do?

Engaging with a specialist psychological rehabilitation provider such as Resilia, can support workplaces to reach return-to-work outcomes sooner and reduce claims costs. At Resilia, we understand the unique needs of each claim and take a person-centred and coordinated approach to recovery.   

Resilia uses best Resilia uses a best practice management of psychological injuries for workers experiencing mental illness. This involves:  

  • Early and targeted intervention plan to best prevent, assess and rehabilitate employees experiencing poor mental health 
  • Coordinated preparation, response, and management of injuries. 
  • Engaging the injured worker to take an active part in their recovery and return-to-work planning 
  • Ensuring clear communication amongst all stakeholders to coordinate actions and align expectations 
  • Proactive and regular case management  
  • Early case conferencing with treating practitioners, the injured worker, employer and insurer 
  • Promote recovery at work by ensuring the injured worker returns to ‘good work’ through the provision of meaningful suitable duties.  

For more information on managing difficult claims that are at risk of protracted recovery and becoming “stuck”, visit resilia.com.au and engage with a specialist psychological rehabilitation provider today.