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Occupational Therapists and Mental Health

June 27, 2016
It is well known that Occupational Therapists (OT) work with the elderly to improve quality of life and help maintain independence.  It is also well known that OTs work with children to facilitate play and engagement in school and learning. In fact, it is well known that OTs work with people across their lifespan following an injury or illness and enable people to engage in their activities of daily living. However, it appears that what is less well known, even in the world of health professionals, is the vital role that OTs are qualified to perform to assist people with mental health conditions. Universities offering courses in Occupational Therapy focus half their curriculum on mental health and how OTs can assist people to re-establish roles and engage in all aspects of their activities of daily living. When considering mental health, there are some key areas where OTs are able to use their unique skills to provide interventions and achieve successful outcomes. These include: developing goals identifying strengths and barriers grading exposure to and participation in activities supporting community access facilitating the development of a range of skills (for example, time management) helping people establish habits and routines and enabling people to engage in meaningful occupations. When you consider each of these areas of intervention, and an OT’s skills in analysing tasks and occupations, the direct impact OTs can have on improving a person’s mental health and wellbeing is not only essential, but exciting! P2 Group Occupational Therapists are well skilled to assist workers with both physical injuries/illnesses and mental health conditions. Unfortunately, we often see that with one form of injury/ illness comes the other, so it is vital that when we assess a worker we take a holistic approach, considering both their physical and mental health.  P2 Group have assisted many people with a mental health condition to increase their capacity, empower them to take control of their health and wellbeing and remain engaged in the workplace by collaborating with them and their employer to develop appropriate supports and deliver education as required. At P2 Group we consider a supportive workplace to be the best place for someone with a mental health condition because it provides them with meaningful use of their time, structure to their day and enhances quality of life. It’s a great outcome for individuals and employers who are able to retain loyal staff.

Case Study – Non Compliance Termination

June 15, 2016
Case Study – Non Compliance Termination A manufacturer in Eastern Melbourne, engaged the P2 Group for assistance with the return to work of their employee, John. John had injured his back 9 months prior and subsequently underwent surgery 2 months after the date of injury. John had a negative attitude towards participating in any return to work planning and his Statistical Case Estimate (SCE) was over $150,000 and was on track to significantly increase the employers premium which caused some concern.  The Employer had made several attempts, with the assistance of an occupational rehabilitation company, to return John to work, however had been unsuccessful as John continued to provide unfit Certificates of Capacity. The P2 Group developed an action plan with the employer and directed John to attend an assessment of capacity under Section 113 of the WIRC Act which states; “A worker who has an incapacity for work must, when requested to do so by the employer, Authority or self-insurer, and to the extent it is reasonable to do so, actively participate and co-operate in any assessment of the workers capacity for work, and rehabilitation progress, and future employment prospects” The Employer developed a Return to Work Plan inviting John to participate in a functional capacity evaluation with a P2 Group Occupational Therapist. John was further invited to participate in a worksite assessment, where the P2 Group Occupational Therapist confirmed the requirements of his suitable duties from a physical and cognitive/behavioural perspective. As part of this process, the P2 Group Occupational Therapist contacted John’s treating practitioners. Return to Work Plan – Offer of Suitable Duties #1 was developed and delivered to John. This RTWP incorporated John’s functional capacity identified in the functional capacity evaluation, suitable duties identified in the worksite assessment, a graduated return to normal working hours schedule and travel assistance. John attended an appointment with his GP and obtained another unfit certificate. John did not participate in his Return to Work Plan – Offer of Suitable Duties #1. The P2 Group Occupational Therapist re-contacted John’s Treating Practitioners to discuss his functional capacity and workplace supports.  Return to Work Plan – Offer of Suitable Duties #2 was developed and delivered to John. John was also invited to attend a Return to Work Planning and Orientation Meeting. John did not attend the meeting. John attended an appointment with his GP the next day and was certified fit for modified duties and returned to work 2 days later. One week later however, John ceased work and obtained another unfit certificate from his GP. The P2 Group Occupational Therapist re-contacted John’s Treating Practitioners to discuss his functional capacity and workplace supports.  Return to Work Plan – Offer of Suitable Duties #3 was developed and delivered to John. John was also invited to attend a Return to Work Planning and Orientation Meeting, which he attended. John however received another unfit certificate from his GP and did not attend work as per his RTWP. The P2 Group had a meeting with the Johns employer and the Insurance Agent to discuss how this case should proceed.

Case Study | Ageing Workforce

March 16, 2016
CASE STUDY | AGEING WORKFORCE The case The P2 Group was recently engaged by an organisation after a line manager recognised early warning signs regarding a mature aged employee. The employee was invited to participate in a 60 minute functional capacity evaluation with an Occupational Therapist from P2 Group. The P2 Occupational Therapist met with the mature aged employee at the employee’s normal worksite and also reviewed the inherent requirements of the employee’s job. The P2 Occupational Therapist then consulted with the employee’s GP to discuss the employee’s capacity for work. Collectively, they determined; The employee could safely perform four of the five tasks of his job, however one task was deemed to be too physically demanding and could put the employee at risk of injury.  The employee was becoming tired mid week which was impacting on his work and home life. The outcome Together, with a representative from the organisation, the P2 Occupational Therapist consulted with the employee and agreed to implement the following supports; Scale down his working hours to Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, offering Wednesday as a rest day for the mature aged employee to recharge. A younger team member, who worked in the same department as the mature aged employee, was asked to help by performing the one task that was deemed to be too physically demanding. By working together, the younger employee would also learn the tribal knowledge – the knowledge known by the mature aged employee from his 20 years experience with the organisation, yet undocumented. A self managed health program was customised by the P2 Occupational Therapist to improve the mature aged employee’s work ability. The organisation also offered the mature aged employee home care to help him care for his ill partner at home. The mature aged employee now has a plan to gradually retire over the next 3-5 years whilst remaining engaged in meaningful employment surrounded by his work mates. Statistics for Employers People are living longer and fertility rates are reducing, which is resulting in more mature employees leaving the workforce than younger people entering the workforce. In the five years since June 2009, the number of people aged 65 years and over in Australia increased by 565,600 (20%) to reach 3.5 million people at June 2014. This accounted for 15% of the total Australian population. And more Australians than ever before are qualifying for birthday wishes from the Queen – a 12% increase. The Baby Boomers are now 50-70 years of age – the Ageing Workforce is now a reality! Only 21% of Australian employees over the age of 45 intend to retire before 65 years of age. A further 31% plan to retire in their late 60s and 11% after 70 years of age. Surprisingly 37% have not considered when they will retire. The proportion of 65-69 year old Australian employees employed part-time increased from 30% in 2005 to 49% in 2013 and the employees over 70 years old employed part-time increased from 38% in 2005 to 57% in 2013.

P2 Group presents at L.A.S.A. Tri State conference on ageing workforce

February 25, 2016
P2 Group recently presented at the Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) Tri-State Conference on the subjects of early intervention, injury management and turning the ageing workforce from a problem into an opportunity. There were 85 attendees. Most employers did not have the correct processes in place to manage their mature workers … they learnt the importance of starting this process early and holistically supporting their mature workers to consider a graduated retirement program. The P2 Group have spoken about the “Silver Tsunami” for a decade. It’s now fast approaching. Mature aged people will start to leave work because they are physically and mentally exhausted and there are not enough young people entering work. There are positive ways to retain this knowledge and help the mature aged people (that want) to remain productive and engaged with life. See event information here For more information about how P2 Group assists employers with ageing workforce management please click here

Why I became an Occupational Therapist – Megan Sekeres

December 15, 2015
I always knew I wanted to help people improve their health and well-being, so during year 12 I enrolled in a Psychological Science Bachelor’s degree and a two year Master of Occupational Therapy Practice. At the time I wasn’t quite sure where this would take me, however, during my first few weeks of Occupational Therapy study (three years later after finishing my Bachelor degree) I realised that Occupational Therapy was exactly what I wanted to do. It seemed as though I could relate so many things I had already experienced back to the theory of Occupational Therapy. I thought about how a family member who had been in hospital could have had a more positive experience and recovery with the involvement of a skilled Occupational Therapist. Almost 10 years ago now, a close family member had a significant non-work related medical trauma. Following time in intensive care, hospital and then rehabilitation this person then spent a significant amount of time at home, constantly attending medical appointments whilst having the limitations of being unable to drive and work – having previously worked all their life and recently in senior management roles. This person was lucky and has a very supportive workplace that allowed them to return on a part time basis about a year later. I saw first hand the increased independence and self-esteem that work provided as well as how it restored the family dynamics. While I’m sure it was not always easy, I know that this person would agree that work enhanced their physical and mental recovery, possibly more than we will ever know. I am passionate about how all aspects of occupation such as leisure, self-care and work, contributes to a person’s identity and importantly impacts on their quality of life. I truly believe that people who are engaged in meaningful occupation and get the right kind of support when required are healthier and (maybe more importantly) happier. Megan Sekeres

Mental Health Workshop for Managers

November 16, 2015
The Mental Health of staff is at the forefront of business challenges.  As well as taking a huge toll on the individual, its financial and cultural impact on organisations is significant and is becoming more prevalent. Here are some alarming statistics…. “Poor Mental Health costs Australian Businesses $10.9 billion each year” – Price Waterhouse Coopers “Staff experiencing non-diagnosed depression are likely to have 3-4 days of additional sick leave per month” – Beyond Blue “By 2020, depression is predicted to be the second most significant cause off suffering worldwide” – World Health Organisation The good news? Your business can tackle these challenges head on….. The P2 Group are assisting Victorian businesses combat Mental Health issues in the workplace. We provide education and tailored workshops (at your workplace) to executives, line managers and workers on key areas of Mental Health challenges. These include Defining Mental Health – Understanding its impact in the Workplace Identifying Mental Health Issues in staff Strategies for addressing staff Welfare Early Intervention Strategies Employers Legal Obligations What is and isn’t the Responsibility of Managers? Financial Impact on Workers Compensation Insurance To take control of Mental Health in your workplace today, please contact Ben Thornton for a confidential discussion on 0439 819 688 To read more about P2 Workshops, please click here

P2 Group is celebrating OT week!

October 29, 2015
P2 Group is celebrating OT week!   Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well being through occupation.This year Occupational Therapy Australia is using OT Week as an opportunity to help increase understanding of occupational therapy among the broader community.   P2 Group is a team of Occupational Therapists who help employers align the performance of people with their organisational demands and provide injured workers with sustainable pathways back to work. Our Occupational Therapists achieve this by working with people and employers to enhance their ability to engage in the occupations they want to, need to, or are expected to, or by modifying the occupation or the environment to better support their occupational engagement.   Occupational therapists play an important role in helping workers return to work following an injury or illness, including stress. Their role in the workplace covers: Injury management and rehabilitation – including worksite assessments, injury risk assessments, occupational rehabilitation counselling and early intervention rehabilitation Injury prevention – including manual-handling assessments, claims history reviews, ergonomic assessments, development of alternate duties, work-conditioning programs and the redesign of workplaces Training – in areas like stress management, manual handling, back care, safe work practices, the introduction of new equipment, work-station adjustments and developing pause exercises, where you take a break for exercise at work.   When appropriate measures are implemented and through a proactive approach to health and wellbeing at work many injuries, musculoskeletal disorders or mental health conditions that affect people both at work and in their personal lives can be prevented.   Click here to find out more about occupational therapy

P2 Group involved in A.H.S.F.M.A. National Conference.

October 23, 2015
P2 Group will be sponsoring and participating in this years Australian Health Services Financial Management Association (AHSFMA) National Conference 25th and 26th November 2015. WorkCover remains one of the highest labour costs for organisations. P2 Group will be discussing how organisations can better manage the subject of WorkCover. Since 2003, P2 Group has saved organisations millions of dollars through reducing their WorkCover premiums. By working with P2 Group, organisations typically achieve 50% reductions in WorkCover premium in 1-2 years, with ongoing cumulative savings. Smart organisations then invest a small percentage of the savings into P2 Group’s proven Early Intervention strategies to enhance employee wellbeing and improve productivity. Employees are happy and organisations are seen as employers of choice. See more about the conference here https://www.ahsfma.org.au/events-info/national-conference-2015


September 18, 2015
It is important for all employers to understand that the Inherent Requirements of jobs are not the same as job descriptions. Most employers have job descriptions well documented, including key performance indicators relating to employees’ performance and their code of conduct. However, most organisations do NOT have the Inherent Requirements of the jobs correctly documented, which weakens their recruitment process and return to work strategies. Employers also have legal obligations to monitor the health of their employees and implement strategies to support their employees when they know or ought reasonably to have known that employees can no longer meet the inherent requirements of their jobs. P2 Group was engaged by five regional Councils to assist in documenting the Inherent Requirements of key jobs. The first step involved identifying the jobs that were contributing to most of the injuries. P2 Group reviewed the WorkCover claims data for each of the Councils and found most of the injuries resulted from seven key jobs. After consultation with the Councils, it was agreed the Inherent Requirements of the Jobs would be documented for the following roles – Child Care Cleaner and Maintenance Local Laws Park and Gardens Roads and Bridges (Construction and Maintenance) Community Care Customer Service (Administrator) To undertake the analysis of these roles P2 Group Occupational Therapists spent three days at a Council analysing and observing the key physical, cognitive, environmental and organisational demands of each job. This process involved close consultation with the line managers and employees performing each job and an in depth, observational analysis of the key tasks associated with each job. Following the analysis of the seven Council roles P2 Group Occupational Therapists developed a comprehensive and versatile Inherent Requirements of Job document for each role, incorporating a variety of written task analyses, tables and photographs to increase clarity and readability. These documents now provide the Councils with an invaluable tool for undertaking pre-employment assessments, identifying suitable duties, assisting to achieve maximising return to work outcomes and managing the reality of an ageing workforce. Click here to find out more about inherent requirements of jobs Alternatively, we welcome you to call us on 1300 789 467 for a confidential discussion.

Welcome to the world Eloise Anne Hawthorne

September 9, 2015
The P2 Group warmly welcomes Eloise Anne Hawthorne to the world and into the P2 family! Born to proud parents Jarrod & Marianne on 5th August 2015 at 1:30am, she weighed 2.57kg. Eloise’s dad, Jarrod, is the P2 Group’s Data Analyst & Office Manager.  

Case Study | A better way to manage WorkCover Claims

September 1, 2015
P2 Group was recently engaged by an Aged Care provider to assist a Personal Care Assistant who lodged a WorkCover claim for a lower back injury. The Aged Care provider had previously engaged P2 Group to assist several employees with early warning signs and achieved positive proactive outcomes for the employees. The employer understood P2 Group’s uniform process for WorkCover and non-WorkCover cases, so they did not hesitate to engage a P2 Group Occupational Therapist to conduct a Functional Capacity Evaluation to assist the health and wellbeing of the employee who lodged the claim for a lower back injury. During the Functional Capacity Evaluation, P2 Group identified that the employee was experiencing symptoms of anxiety and stress due to workplace incidents and personal matters that were becoming a barrier to her returning to work. The employee was also recovering from a pre-existing medical condition and was a care giver to her ill husband at home. Working together, the employer and P2 Group developed a Return To Work Plan that incorporated a Self Managed Health Program and a graduated return to pre-injury duties schedule. P2 Group educated the employee to self manage her symptoms of anxiety and stress at work and outside of work. The P2 Group Occupational Therapist consulted with the employee’s treating practitioners and with the WorkCover agent to ensure all key stakeholders were on the same page and aiming to achieve common goals. The P2 Group Occupational Therapist also conducted Progress Reviews with the employee to identify any return to work barriers and areas in which the employee may benefit from additional support from her employer. The employee seized the opportunity to better their life. They were very grateful for the support provided by the Aged Care Provider and returned to working her normal hours and pre-injury duties. Through a small investment in P2 Group, the employee’s wellbeing has enhanced, a potentially complex WorkCover matter avoided and the WorkCover claims costs were kept very low. The key lesson for all employers is to act fast with a uniform process for line managers, return to work coordinators and employees. Employers must plan the return to work of an employee from the date on which the employer knows, or ought reasonably to have known, of the employee’s incapacity for work. Act fast to better help your employees. Find out more about the benefits of a uniform process here Alternatively, we welcome you to call us on 1300 789 467.  

P2 Group client wins LASA Award for Excellence

August 31, 2015
P2 Group would like to congratulate Don Tidbury and his team at Macedon Ranges Health for being awarded  the 2015 Winner – “Small Provider Award” at the Leading Aged Services (LASA) Awards for Excellence. LASA  is the peak industry body for aged residential and home care in Victoria. The awards were announced at an aged care industry wide presentation ceremony at Leonda by the Yarra in Hawthorn on Monday 24th August 2015. LASA announced that during 2014/15 the Gisborne Oaks had implemented major advancements in clinical care, quality and workforce initiatives. These important improvements were underpinned by the enormous level of support, respect and goodwill existing between the Gisborne Oaks residents, their families, our volunteers and the Gisborne Oaks care team. The P2 Group are proud to be associated with Macedon Ranges Health and look forward to a continued partnership in helping their community.