Occupational wellbeing—management of injured workers with psychosocial barriers

Peter Cotton
Australian Family Physician 2006, 35 (12): 958-61

BACKGROUND: Although most injured workers return to work with minimal intervention, approximately 20% show levels of distress and disability beyond that expected for the injury. The level of morale in a workplace seems to play a major role in this. Workers who experience positive emotions leading to increased morale are more likely to be resilient following injury.

OBJECTIVE: It is important for general practitioners to recognise the nonclinical factors that exert a significant influence over employee wellbeing and return to work outcomes. Some management strategies are presented.

DISCUSSION: General practitioners who work collaboratively with all major stakeholders, who identify and manage psychosocial barriers early, who take an active role in promoting positive expectations, and who focus on the immediate problem rather than its industrial associations will achieve better outcomes for their injured patients.

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