It’s well known that psychosocial factors play a dominant role in work-related disability. Often, workers delay their return to work longer than their medical condition physically requires.

Dr Mary Wyatt (above left with Dr Sarah Oxford and Dr Janine McMillan), Occupational Physician, is working to change this problem. She organised a Biopsychosocial Symposium held on April 27 in Sydney. This symposium was part of “It Pays to Care” under the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM). Eighty people representing various workers’ compensation industry groups attended.

The day included a mixture of presentations, panel sessions, and round table discussions, with plenty of interactive sharing and learning. Participants were eager to hear about various interventions that are being trialled to improve injured workers’ experiences in the claims system.

Topics included the principles of early biopsychosocial screening and assessing the needs of injured workers deemed at higher risk through screening, as well as examples of implementation through various interventions. Melanie Ianssen’s description of The EMCAP Study, early screening and matched care at Australia Post, was particularly compelling.

ISCRR’s Senior Researcher Dr Sarah Oxford was invited to present on program evaluation. Sarah highlighted the importance of evaluating programs from early in the intervention when it’s easier to implement changes.


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