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Treat Injured Workers With Kindness for Optimal Results

Posted by Danny Sanchez, PT, CEAS on November 27, 2017

Customer service is key to outcomes for injured workers. That’s why I’m especially proud of the way we work with injured workers. Treating people with respect and compassion leads to better results — for employees, their employers and their carriers and third-party administrators.

It’s easy to get caught up in our own hectic schedules and deadlines, but it’s really important to take a step back and try to understand what the injured worker is experiencing.  By doing that we can go the extra mile and let that worker know that we are here to help make his recovery as smooth as possible.

Creating a Positive Attitude

Creating a positive environment for the injured worker is a theme throughout our organization. From our CEO, to our intake and care coordination experts and, of course, our physical therapists, we strive to allay the injured worker’s concerns and eliminate any potential obstacles to his recovery.

Our employer clients also share these same beliefs. One of our clients recently related the story that really demonstrates the positive effect of showing genuine concern for the injured worker. The employer went above and beyond the normal course of action to help.

The employee in this case sustained multiple injuries and was facing a lengthy recovery process. In addition to reaching out to him, the employer contacted his family immediately after the injury — with offers of gift cards for food and additional help. They assured him and his family that they would be there every step of the way, and they have been.

The worker’s whole attitude changed from feeling vulnerable and suspicious to feeling positive. He is actively and eagerly engaged in his treatment and making tremendous progress at a rate faster than he would have if he had had a negative outlook.

Research has shown that an injured worker’s attitude can have a tremendous impact on his outcome. Those who are positive are willing to work with their providers, fully participate in their physical therapy and discuss their progress with all those involved in the claim. A worker who distrusts his employer goes into the workers’ compensation system with a negative attitude, creating an adversarial relationship. That injured worker is much more likely to hire an attorney than the one with a positive attitude who feels his employer actually cares about his recovery and well-being.

Accommodating the Injured Worker

On our end, we show the injured worker the same respect. For one thing, we give them the choice of where they would like to have their physical therapy, depending on their personal schedules: 

  • At work. For some workers, having their physical therapy at work is ideal. They don’t have to leave the premises or spend wasted time traveling; they have an hour of one-on-one therapy and can then be back on the job.
  • At home. Injured workers who are too injured to leave their homes and don’t have transportation may prefer having their PT at home. 
  • At a clinic. For some injured workers, a clinic is the ideal location for their PT. Still, we go above and beyond the norm by fully managing the claim throughout the entire process. We make sure the worker is getting the treatment he needs with the right therapist.

In addition to choice of location, we also want to ensure the injured worker has the best physical therapist for his needs. Because the therapy is one-on-one, it’s vitally important that the worker and therapist are comfortable with one another.  We check in regularly with the injured worker — as well as his employer — to make sure he knows we are there to help and to make sure he feels comfortable with the therapist.

The Outcomes

Treating injured workers with respect, dignity and compassion leads to better results — something that is not too surprising. People who feel valued rather than just a ‘claimant’ or a statistic on a spread sheet feel more humanized. That is what we try to do for each and every injured worker we touch.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of the injured worker; she’s just been injured, doesn’t really understand the workers’ compensation process, is scared about paying her bills — and she is in pain. It is a life changing event. She wants someone to take a few minutes to understand what she is experiencing and to treat her with kindness.

Conclusion

It takes a few extra minutes to make a real connection with an injured worker. But think of how you would feel if you sustained an injury and were scared about your future. How would you want to be treated?

That is how we approach every injured worker.  By reaching out and developing a rapport and assuring our continued help, it makes a positive difference to them — and us.

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