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Workshop – Understanding Workplace Mental Health

October 4, 2016
Businesses are regularly challenged by the task of managing workers with mental health concerns; with depression predicted to be the second most significant cause of suffering worldwide by 2020 (BeyondBlue) it is essential that a proactive focus is placed upon supporting and managing workers with their mental health. Poor mental health costs Australian businesses over $10.9 billion each year (Price Waterhouse Coopers) with workers experiencing non-diagnosed mental health concerns likely to require 3-4 additional days of sick leave each month (BeyondBlue). This has a significant implication for all businesses from a cultural, productivity, operational and financial perspective. Pleasingly, every dollar spent on proactively addressing mental health in the workplace has been shown to equate to a direct return on investment of $2.30 (Price Waterhouse Coopers). P2 Group’s boutique Mental Health Workshop aims to upskill executives, managers and supervisors in the identification and management of mental health concerns within the workplace through practical case studies, skills building and the provision of effective tools. P2 Group’s highly interactive workshops focus on: What is mental health; promoting a healthy attitude to mental health Prevalence of mental health concerns What is mental illness; understanding of the spectrum of mental health concerns and their impact upon workers and workplaces Understanding and  recognising the early warning signs and symptoms of mental health concerns How to help within the boundaries of your work role; taking an early intervention approach Practical and realistic workplace case studies; common situations, what to do and the tools which can assist Legal and organisational requirements for reasonable adjustments and how these can be achieved Understanding stress; promoting a healthy attitude to stress Strategies for managing stress and assisting workers to manage their own stress Addressing the stigma of mental health and stress Developing mental health resilience and practical skills and tools to enhance personal wellbeing and the wellbeing of workers To take control of mental health in your workplace, please register for this event here Powered by Eventbrite Date: 24 November 2016 Time: 9am – 12pm Venue: Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122 Cost: $242.55 (inc GST & Booking Fee)

P2 Group Partnering With SEBN (South East Business Networks) – Ageing Workforce

September 21, 2016
THE AGEING WORKFORCE AND THE HUMAN MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE The Ageing Workforce is an issue for many companies, large and small, and was the focus of a recent Workplace Health & Safety Network session hosted by SEBN. This network is just one of the SEBN stable providing awareness, exposure and capability development for participating companies. Session leader, Paul Marsh from the P2 Group is a specialist in the area. Following the session, Paul offered the following thought provoking article suggesting approaches you can take with your workforce if mature-age is an issue in your workplace. 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 per cent) to reach 3.5 million people in June 2014. This accounted for 15 percent of the total Australian population. Only 21 per cent of Australian employees over the age of 45 intend to retire before 65 years of age. A further 31 per cent plan to retire in their late 60s and, 11 per cent after 70 years of age. Surprisingly 37 per cent have not even considered when they will retire. Organisations that manage their ageing workforce through a reactive process will find that workplace productivity is slowing, WorkCover Insurance Premiums are increasing, and rehabilitation for these individuals is ongoing. Are your employees ready to retire? Have they considered the changes in their financial circumstances, lifestyle, self image and purpose? As an employer, are you ready for them to retire? Do they have tribal knowledge that needs to be captured? Are you confident that the labour requirements and HR systems currently in practice can cope with a rising proportion of mature employees? Should they be offered part time employment? The proportion of 65-69 year old Australian employees employed part-time increased from 30 per cent in 2005 to 49 per cent in 2013 and the employees over 70 years old employed part-time increased from 38 per cent in 2005 to 57 per cent in 2013. Most (75 percent) cited personal reasons including caring for elderly people, caring for children, own ill health / injury and social reasons. Often we struggle to optimise under- performing people and do not have the tools to make sound financial and operational decisions for all considered. Organisations historically have had little knowledge of their peoples’ Work Ability and functional capacity. Efficiency and reliability are influenced by the performance of people and sustaining good performance can be achieved through engagement of predictive maintenance which incorporates ageing workforce management. Rather than considering people as assets to be preserved, we have had a tendency to treat workers as liabilities, frequently replacing people with business critical knowledge and skills for no reason other than length of service, believing this is the most financial, operational and moral option. Management needs to implement a holistic “maintenance schedule” for their human assets, in the same fashion as a

The Importance of Workstation Ergonomics

August 16, 2016
Employers may commonly believe that only employees with physical, labour-intensive roles are at risk of sustaining a manual handling injury. However, those who spend the majority of their day completing office based roles are also at risk of manual handling injuries such as repetitive strain injuries or musculoskeletal disorders of the back, neck, shoulders and upper limbs. Therefore, providing an appropriately individualised workstation, specific to the needs of the employee, is an important holistic approach and proactive step in reducing risk of these injuries, as well as promoting health and well-being for the individual and a healthy workplace culture. By a quick glance, it may appear that a worker is well set up at their computer desk as they have all the equipment they need; a good chair, two monitors and a document holder. However, each employee has such individual needs in order to best support their size, posture, injuries and work demands that time needs to be taken to closely review each workstation. P2 Group Occupational Therapists are skilled in ergonomics and workstation design and are able to provide recommendations in regards to the following components of a workstation: Employee’s body posture Employee’s work habits and task rotation Chair Desk Monitor/s Keyboard Mouse Telephone Document Holders In addition to specific equipment adjustments or recommendations, our Occupational Therapists also provide education to employees to upskill themselves in order to monitor and address their workstation needs in an ongoing capacity. In addition to reducing the risk of injuries, an appropriate workstation set up can be an important contributor to promoting recovery and enhancing productivity for an employee that has a pre-existing condition: P2 Group was engaged by an organisation to assist an employee who had a neck injury as a result of a sporting accident, and was experiencing ongoing neck, back and shoulder discomfort. They consulted with a Physiotherapist on a regular basis, however continued to experience discomfort during their day-to-day work tasks. Upon review of their workstation, it was deemed that their current workstation set-up was poor, and was not supporting their neck and shoulder recovery. The following are some of the recommendations that were made: The employee’s chair was not providing appropriate support as the back support was too low and too far reclined, and the chair was not raised high enough so the employee was not appropriately supported through the hips; adjustments were made accordingly. The primary monitor being used was too low for the employee’s height, meaning their neck was in a flexed position for prolonged periods of time, creating additional discomfort. Adjustments were made to the height of the monitor as well as to the employee’s keyboard and mouse, ensuring that they promoted a neutral, relaxed position. Following a short period with the above changes, the employee experienced reduced discomfort in their neck and shoulders and was able to be more productive throughout the day. Further to the above recommendations, the employee was provided with education in order to monitor their own workstation to maintain an appropriate set

Navigating the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS)

August 15, 2016
Are you getting the best outcomes to suit ‘YOUR’ business? The Conciliation process via the ACCS can be a minefield for both workers and employers. Do you properly understand this process and do you understand the outcomes?   a) that best suit ‘YOUR’ business?; and   b) that may potentially cause a significant financial burden for ‘YOUR’ business? P2 Group are running a ‘FREE’ information session designed to assist you in navigating through this process: What is the purpose of Conciliation at the ACCS? What are the possible outcomes? Which outcome is best for ‘YOUR’ business? How can you best prepare for the Conciliation process and what is ‘YOUR’ role as the employer Any question please call Ben Thornton on 0439 819 688. DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND: Two new seminars have been created for an afternoon and another mporning session. Please follow this link to register: http://navigating-accs.eventbrite.com.au Powered by Eventbrite DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND: Two new seminars have been created. Please follow this link to register: http://navigating-accs.eventbrite.com.au Powered by Eventbrite

Case Study – Supporting Employees with Long Term Injuries.

July 25, 2016
P2 Group was recently engaged by a large Victorian Council to assist Mary, an employee, who sustained a lower back injury. A P2 Group Occupational Therapist was engaged to conduct a Functional Capacity Evaluation to assist Mary to improve her health and wellbeing, identify supports, focusing on return to work and normal routine. Over the next 2 weeks the P2 Group Occupational Therapist was able to collaborate with Mary, Mary’s line manager, treating practitioners, the council’s return to work coordinator and insurance agent to assist Mary back return to the work environment with suitable supports in place. These included recommendations for Mary to; Avoid repetitive and excessive reaching forward and overhead Avoid sustained neck postures and avoid excessive and repetitive neck movements Avoid forceful and repetitive pushing, pulling and grasping with a 5kg lifting limit Work at a self paced rate and take additional rest breaks to perform strengthening exercises as required Participate in regular meetings with a supportive manager and notify a manager immediately if experiencing increased discomfort or fatigue. Mary returned to work, completing her normal hours and suitable duties and sustained this for an eight month period, whilst continuing to participate in regular physiotherapy treatment. It was determined at this time that Mary required surgery. The Occupational Therapist supported the Council to develop a Return to Work Timeline Plan, which outlined the steps involved in returning to work after undergoing surgery and outlined the supports in place to assist Mary throughout the process. Furthermore the Occupational Therapist met with Mary at regular points in the time leading up to the surgery, in order to support her at work. Developing this Return to Work Timeline plan assisted to alleviate Mary’s apprehensions when considering the prospect of returning to work after her surgery. Six weeks after the surgery, as planned, Mary again met with the P2 Group Occupational Therapist to participate in another Functional Capacity Evaluation. During the Functional Capacity Evaluation it was discovered that Mary was having significant trouble sleeping, was anxious to attend work and had concerns with a large increase in workload. Upon completing the evaluation the Occupational Therapist liaised with Mary, the council’s return to work coordinator, insurance agent, Mary’s line manager and treating practitioners to again assist Mary back into the work environment with suitable supports in place. The recommended supports included; Providing Mary with a private, quiet rest area, in order to rest her back, as well as complete her prescribed physiotherapist exercises. Arranging Mary’s working hours to morning, as her back symptoms were best at this time Reduced workload in the initial stages of returning to work. Mary returned to work, completing suitable duties and gradually returned to completing her normal working hours over a 9 week period. The Occupational Therapist met with Mary in order to conduct regular progress reviews, with the aim to review her capacity and confirm the duties continued to be appropriate, meaningful and engaging. Gradually, Mary returned to participating in her pre-injury tasks. At 8 month post

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