We have put together information to keep injured or ill persons informed of what to expect.
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All employers play a crucial role in the prevention and management of workplace injuries.
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Information for Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Exercise Physiologists and Doctors.
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Other key stakeholders are also encouraged to provide Information and comments about issues of relevance .
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Worker Issues

 

If an injured worker is not back at work by this stage they may be feeling anxious and depressed as generally they will have a fundamental drive and need to get back to work.

 

In the current NSW Workers system however even the most resilient, motivated worker is likely to find the situation stressful, particularly if their injury has not recovered or nearly recovered after 3 months.

 

The potential obstacles cited above can lead to:

 

- Financial difficulties

- Treatment delay

- Conflicts between stakeholders

- Bullying by stakeholders

- Communication breakdown

- Stress on the injured worker and other stakeholder

- Secondary anxiety and/or depression

- Changes and reduction in motivation

- Secondary physical and mental health problems - anxiety depression, poor life style habits, loss of physical activity, diet, and lifestyle change, social avoidance, relationship conflicts and drug and alcohol addiction.

 

What You can Do


1. Look after yourself - physical health


Medication Use/Abuse

After 4 months a range of injury related medicines may have been tried to help with pain relief or treatment of associated symptoms. Some of these medications may cause side effects, adverse reactions or interactions with other drugs. Some medicines can cause dependence and tolerance.  It is important to be aware of what medications are for, desired effects and benefits as well as possible side effects, interactions or adverse reactions.  Your own research and discussion with  a health potential is essential for people taking medications over a prolonged period of time.

 

Non Prescribed Use

There is also a tendency of some injured workers to use prescribed or legal medications outside guidelines leading to risks of adverse reactions and side effects.   Similarly some prescribed medications used socially or combined with alcohol and cigarettes are sometimes used excessively by injured workers who are struggling to cope with their situation or injury.  Illicit drugs normally  used sparingly by some people may be used increasingly after an injury for their analgesic effect - e.g. marijuana, however drug interactions, dependence are possible and a risk worthy of careful consideration.

 
 

Don’t stop physical activity

Substantial injuries rarely effect only the injured body part. They effect the ease of performing activities of daily living and through problems such as sleep deprivation and associated depression motivation and energy levels are reduced.  In turn general physical deconditioning occurs and can be associated with other health issues ( such as obesity), particularly when diet and food intake isn;t adjusted to accomodate reduced activity levels.

Although a physical or psychological injury can limit the ease physical activities that can be undertaken, it is essential to maintain a reasonable level of health and fitness.  Discussion with your NTD or another health professional can be very helpful for coming up with options you can do despite your injury.



Don’t abandon your social network

People who are injured often find they can’t do things they use to like play sports or other recreational activities they use to enjoy. Frequently new ones have not been taken up.  Hobbies and interests are often a source of meeting new people and friendships.  Many injured workers who aren’t able to participate in activities they use to prior to injury haven’t taken up new activitiesafter 4 months and tend to become socially isolated.  Depression and anxiety can compound the tendency to social withdrawal and isolation.



What you need to consider:

 
  • Don’t isolate yourself 

  • Reach out to people you are comfortable with and who care

  • Develop new hobbies and interests

 

Look after your mental health

 

Keep active mentally

Most injured workers who remain in the system after 4 months will find that their lives have become dominated by things they have to attend to related to their claim and treatment.  Many activities and intersts they use to do do and enjoyed that were a source of relaxation or focus away from work cannot be undertaken or are neglected.  There is much time to contemplate and think about what has happened or what could happen.  There is usually considerable uncertainty.  This can and often does lead to anxiety and depression.  To alleviate some of the distress and worry it is important to continue to pursue interests and interactions with people and focus on things that have nothing to do with your injury.  Psychologial counselling can be helpful at this stage.  If your NTD has not suggested it consider doing so and getting a referral. 

 

 

Family dynamics

 

People who have sustained a substantial injury often can’t do things as they use to at home and need assistance and support.  Often  the injured person’s way of dealing with their injury is not helpful with family relationships, - irritability, anger, mood swings, withdrawl  and can put strain on relationships. Psychological and rehabilitation support is often essential when injury symptoms impact on the lives of family members.

 

Concentration and memory

People experiencing chronic and acute pain, sleep depression, injury related agitation and depression have problems concentrating and remembering all they need to do. Use off a diary and doing a fewer things over a longer time frame are steps towards accommodating and adjusting to injury and temporary impaired concentration difficulties.

 

Getting the balance right

The secret to longer term injury management is getting the balance right  -  doing too much and reinjuring  or becoming overwhelmed vs doing little or and  losing further functional capacity physically and psychologically.

 

Accepting the need for help

Support and guidance is often essential in navigating the various obstacles, physically and psychologically within the system.  Don’t be afraid to seek help and guidance when you need it.

 

 

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