Case Study – Supporting Employees with Long Term Injuries

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;

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;

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 surgery, the worker had fully recovered and was able to confidently and safely complete her substantive role. This return to work process ensured that Mary was participating in duties which built upon her confidence, self esteem and promoted a purposeful use of time, resulting in a successful and sustained workplace recovery.