Often employers face a dilemma with occupational injuries –
how best to protect the injured party and return to normal employment and business. An employer recently contacted us with a problem. A young male employee had been out of work for almost 5 months due to a back injury and there were no clear signs of progress in his rehabilitation. He had not accepted the offer to return to work on a modified duty basis, nor had his physician prescribed active treatment or rehabilitation therapy. The employer was concerned because they were uncertain when their employee would be able to return to work.
All of our case managers are certified nurses with deep industry experience. Post injury, we believe it is important to break the cycle of pain and disability and re-focus the injured worker and his medical providers on moving back to the workplace. Most of the time, this means working directly with the physician to make sure the proper diagnostic testing, specialist referrals, therapy, and rehabilitation are being provided to the client. In some cases, the injured worker may have to transition to a different job that is consistent with his or her physical abilities.
In this case, we immediately set up a meeting with the injured worker and physician to learn about the barriers to this young man’s return to work. Because back injuries are especially difficult with chronic pain and fear of re-injury, we knew this case needed attention immediately. In this case, after assessing the situation, the NCA case manager determined that the injured worker would benefit from more clarification of his diagnosis through diagnostic testing and a consultation with a specialist. Essentially, he was struggling through pain and disability with no clear understanding of his diagnosis.
Soon after our case workers made the initial assessment with the injured worker and his physician, we obtained authorization from the employer to consult with a spine specialist.
With the help of this specialist, the injured worker’s diagnosis was clarified, and an effective pain management program was put in place. The young man returned to work part-time within weeks of the of the start of pain management. Only three months later, he was back to work full-time.
With the case management expertise of National Care Advisors, the employee recovered from his back injury and was back to his full earning potential – and the employer regained a valued employee. The case was resolved with a win-win solution for all involved.