When it comes to the recovery journey for injured workers, prompt and timely intervention is essential. In fact, the longer workers are away from work, the less likely they are to return at all1. So how can you, as a GP, help your patient remain in or return to work?
How you can help with early intervention
- Conduct an assessment as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis and intervention requirements.
- Talk to your patient about returning to work at your first consultation.
- Focus conversations and certificates on your patient’s capacity for work, outlining their capabilities and limitations.
- Think holistically about the person and ask yourself:
- What other factors may be contributing to the health of my patient?
- Does my patient want to, or expect to, return to work?
- Establish communication with your patient’s employer (preferably in the patient’s presence) as soon as possible.
- Discuss ways your patient’s work duties can be modified.
- Identify obstacles, including psychosocial concerns, and possible solutions.
Find out more about helping your patients return to work. Read about return to work programs and learn about referrals to workplace rehabilitation providers.
- Johnson D, Fry T. Factors Affecting Return to Work after Injury: A study for the Victorian WorkCover Authority. Melbourne: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research; 2002.