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All employers play a crucial role in the prevention and management of workplace injuries.
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Information for Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Exercise Physiologists and Doctors.
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Home » Health Professionals » Physical Injuries » Treatment guidelines for IMA's

Treatment guidelines for IMA's and Case Managers



Dr Ross Mills, Occupational Health Physician, has put together recommended treatment guidelines for the most common occupational injuries to be used by general practitioners and occupational health physicians who are assisting injured workers. The guidelines in addition to providing suggested assessment and treatment strategies also outline some key issues that need to be taken into consideration for the overall management of patients with occupational injuries. Although initially developed for medical practitioners they have been adapted to provide useful information for injury management advisors, rehabiliton providers and treating professionals from a range of paramedical disciplines. In the following section information from Dr Ross Mills, from New Zealand’s ACC and from Clear Perspective Psychology Services is presented outlining key points that should be taken into consideration in the management of occupational injuries.


These guidelines have been created to provide you with an indication as to what might be considered reasonable treatment pathways, and what might be reasonable indications for treatment intervention or for specialist referral, they should not be interpreted as, or used as, treatment recommendations or diagnostic tools. If more specific information is required for a specific injury or case we recommend that an appropriate specialist be consulted.





Who Should Be Involved

A successful return to work of an injured worker will require planning, organisation and coordination of a number of parties. These include the injured worker, their treating doctor, the employer, the insurer, the worker’s co-workers, the worker’s family members and in many cases the rehabilitation service provider and allied treating professionals.



The Importance Of The Workplace


The workplace is an integral part of the rehabilitation process and should not be considered as a place to return to only after the person has fully recovered. It provides many positive benefits to individuals as well as the most obvious, income generation. These include structure to the day in a daily routine, social status, communication skills, sense of contributing, workplace skills and general psychological well being.


In contrast, the negative aspects of unemployment, particularly long term unemployment can include depression, physical health problems, financial difficulties, loss of skills, loss of motivation and reduced social standing. For unemployed people with injuries there is an increased risk of them adopting a “sick role” and of the other difficulties that can occur as a consequence – changes in family dynamics, family relationship tensions and medication reliance.


It is important to establish potential barriers to returning to work as soon as possible so that specific strategies can be put in place to reduce these barriers. Barriers can be classified according to injury factors, individual factors and workplace factors (see barriers to returning to work). Establishing a successful return to work program requires knowledge of the specific job description. It is essential therefore, that there is good communication between the employer and those involved in the return to work plan.



The Importance of Constantly Monitoring


Where there are modified return to work tasks, these should be reviewed regularly.

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