As Return to Work Plan specialists, we are well aware of the statistics where the longer you have off work with a workplace injury, the less likely you are to return to work. This has serious detrimental repercussions for the worker, mentally and physically.
We have an extensive team of preferred medical providers who we choose because of their understanding of the many aspects impacting on a worker in addition to the straight ‘treatment’. We all have a goal of getting the best outcome for the worker and the employer.
This is a message from one of our doctors to his injured patient. It explains how getting back or staying at some sort of work is best for them as the worker.
“To put a worker completely off all work duties is a massive call and has ramifications to both worker and employer. We are not just putting you off work for a few days, we are talking a month minimum and you are aware of the effects long term time off work can have on a worker.
I have included a section of the well known statement of Australian Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work (AFOEM-Consensus) which we base our Return To Work plans on. If I suggested at least 30 days away from the site work environment based on the extent of your injuries and rehabilitation required. Given the injuries this could easily extend further than the one month. Based on their research that then gives you between a 50-70% chance of never returning to full time employment if we keep you off work completely. As doctors we try to do the best for our patients and putting people off work we often think we are helping but research has shown we can invariably make them worse. My role is to maximum your recovery even if this is something you disagree with but from my experience being off work for over one month straight will hinder you in the long run.
Performing the home work duties is more to keep you productive and give you simple tasks to complete rather than just sitting around at home dwelling on your injury. This period of time not only delays physical but also psychological improvements. Idle hands type thing. I appreciate your anxiety symptoms which I have attempted to minimise but do you have zero capacity for any work? I don’t think so as you were coping with a similar type of work quiet well prior to the current issues.
In my experience long term time off work with no work involvement will cause more harm than good. My role is to provide a medical opinion on what I believe is the best and optimal management plan for your recovery both physically and psychologically. I believe this is in your best interest. I would advise against being certified completely unfit as I have seen this have significant long term affects on workers and then when they are cleared to return to site typically the anxiety response is significantly higher than compared to a worker doing some basic work at home as it keeps their mind up to speed with work.
I hope this explains the proposed plan and why this will assist you.”