A panel of experts explores the five pillars that support wellbeing during this session at the 2018 WCI conference. This includes social wellbeing, community wellbeing, financial wellbeing, career wellbeing, and physical wellbeing.
The panel included:
Cari I. Miller, Director and Counsel, Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc. (moderator)
Kirstin Horan, PhD, Department of Psychology, College of Sciences, University of Central Florida
Luis R. Aponte, MD
Shani Wright, Assistant Branch Manager, Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc.
Most of the time its a physical injury that starts a workers’ compensation claim. An example of this physical claim is 52 year old RHD male stated that he sustained an electrical injury in the right hand while repairing a residential washing machine. Explain to the injured worker how serious the injury and give them an idea of what to expect next and for the future. There is a dramatic connection between physical and mental healthy. Resilience is ability to recover or bounce back. Also being able to recover from a change in the workforce such as a downsize. Employees who are resilient often bounce back or recover more quickly than other injured workers. Resilience is similar to a muscle if you train it often it will build and grow. Mindfulness is defined as being present in the moment and not caught up in the past. This is very relevant to the an injured worker and getting them back to the workplace.
Career wellbeing is how you occupy your time or liking what you do. Some people might say this is the most essential because is shapes who you are. The goal with the injury to to restore their function back to 100% and if this is not possible you have to figure out why and how to make the employee feel as back close to 100% as possible. The more realistic expectation the better. The resolution manager can provide the job description to the doctor to make sure they understand what they do and how to train them to return to work.
Financial wellbeing can be a stressor when an employee is injured on the job and cannot work. Explain the benefits to the injured workers and let them know what benefits they are eligible for. Most of the time this is the first time an employee has experience this. So important to the wellbeing if the injured worker to make sure their benefits are paid out in a timely matter. Most still have bills due even though they are not working.
Social wellbeing is about creating and maintaining strong relationships. Create those social connects in the workplace before an injury happens so you have that connection to lean on when you do have an injury and need a support system. A support system or groups shows the injured worker that they are not alone in this journey. Resolution managers are taking the time to listen and connect with the injured worker help and create a more positive final outcome.
Community wellbeing is the differentiator between a good life and a great life. Some companies offer vocational training during their return to work process or as modified duty. They offer certifications that give hopes to get back to work and open additional opportunities for the worker. Companies offer community or philanthropic events that involves not only the company but the employees as well. This creates social responsibility and increases wellbeing overall.