Coping with the trauma of a workplace injury is bad enough in itself but the consequences of temporary or permanent disability creates onerous and distressing situations unless treated holistically.
This is the view of Lindsay Scott, who founded Workability Rehabilitation Solutions in 2003 as business to business healthcare company that provides market leading disability, IOD (Injury On Duty,) return to work and managed care services to corporates, insurers, governmental funders and medical aids.
“The stimulus that led to the establishment of a RTW (Return To Work) Rehab Unit came with the realisation that traditional physiotherapy and occupational therapies were not catering for the full rehabilitation needs of patients' with work-related injuries” said Lindsay, whose opinion has been overwhelmingly supported by international research. “Functional restoration using a holistic bio-psycho-social approach achieves superior and more cost effective outcomes compared to treatment as usual.”
This is particularly the case in South Africa with its high unemployment rate. Those injured at work need to return to work as soon as possible to prevent losing their job and avoid:
- Economic losses
- Loss of the breadwinner role
- Loss of identity
- Loss of social standing
“Prolonged unemployment increases the susceptibilityto secondary illnesses like depression and anxiety and possible suicide. In addition to physically treating the injury, it is essential to explain pain, its physiology and to dispel any fears, beliefs or ignorance that might contradict the treatment” she explained.
Worker protection not always comprehensive
“Furthermore, many employees have a mistaken belief that their income will be safeguarded by Workman’s Compensation or company insurance schemes, which isn’t always the case. As a specialist provider of treatment and rehabilitation of injured workers, especially those at high risk of long-term absence and disability, we have a thorough understanding of COIDA - the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act and related Acts and use this information to help patients to goal set on return to work.
“An example being that you can lose your job even though you were injurged on duty, is not always known or understood by injured employees, nor the fact that if there is a permanent disability payout because of loss of anatomy, that this will be paid whether the injured employee works or doesn’t work. The best option is to aim to return to work.”
A RTW revolution
Workability created something of a revolution in the RTW industry, firstly in the Western Cape where its specialized work rehabilitation centres in Montague Gardens and Brackenfell addressed all the barriers to achieving a sustainable return to work. These barriers are seldom purely medically but are found at the workplace, in the often haphazard medical journey, in policies and in legislation particularly for the uninitiated.
In the 13 years of its existence Workability has developed services that provide complete return to work and managed care solutions for more than 1,000 companies, reducing sickness absence, claims and disability in the workplace.
Innovative IT couples clinical systems with claims administration
From its base in the Western Cape, Lindsay has expanded Workability’s horizons by partnering with physiotherapy and occupational therapy practices throughout the country. It offers its Practice Management software and bridging finance to network partners in Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Kempton Park, Nelspruit and most recently in Ballito.
Bespoke physiotherapy and occupational therapy products and services have been developed for specific market segments including:
- Insurers and governmental funders, to reduce the cost of claims and disability with quality managed assessment, treatment and rehabilitation services
- Corporate clients reducing sickness absence and IOD
- Medical aids, reducing the cost of treatment
“All our products provide a significant return on investment and all our clients benefit from a single supplier whom can provide a consistent and quality managed national service” says Lindsay.
Workability’s Practice Management software encompasses:
- Clinical excellence
- Strategic management information
- Complete integrated solution
- Case management
- A series of employer training courses and workshops to manage and reducing the risk of absenteeism, injury and disability in the workplace
“Workability's unique approach to screening, assessing and stratifying injured employees, ensures that the patient gets the right treatment at the right time. Also, our specialized software and extensive RTW products ensures that all stakeholders involved in a case, work towards the same goal of RTW. Our methodologies are comparable with highest international standards and Workability’s cost effective approach has resulted in high levels of stakeholder satisfaction” she concluded.