Four Steps for Preventing Delayed Recovery

A comprehensive approach in the workplace can make all the difference.

By Jung Ryu

The loss of a loved one can be traumatic, potentially causing long-term effects in the form of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other behavioral health conditions. Understandably, this can make it difficult to be productive at work. As you may have read in a previous blog post, a hospital care manager who worked with individuals with eating disorders found counseling patients difficult after the loss of her husband.

No matter the industry or company, employees struggling through these types of situations and health conditions are common workplace occurrences. But a comprehensive approach in the workplace can make all the difference.

What Can You Do to Provide Support to Employees in These Situations?

Understanding how the complexity of these situations can impact the whole employee — both at work and at home — is important. Multidimensional situations like the example above can lead to delayed recovery, or the lengthening of an employee's medical condition, which can hinder an employee returning to work. Delayed recovery can be caused by treatments not working as expected, comorbid (or multiple) conditions being present at the same time, financial concerns, complex family issues, or child- or elder-care concerns.

A comprehensive approach to disability management can help prevent delayed recovery and assist employees in either returning to work or staying at work and being productive. Thankfully, in part to her employer's comprehensive disability management approach, the woman in the example above was able to return to her job after just a few months. Her workplace used a consultant from the Workplace PossibilitiesSM program to get her the help she needed to recover and get back to work.

A Different Holistic Approach to Disability Management

The approach to disability management above considers both physical and psychosocial issues that could affect employees' recovery, proactively outlining how to identify and interact with employees, integrate treatment programs and, ultimately, improve outcomes across an organization.

This approach includes four important steps to disability management, which a disability carrier can assist you with:

  1. Identify the person in need of assistance. You can call on a Workplace Possibilities consultant to understand your organizational culture, integrate with your internal benefits team and help you identify employees in need of stay-at-work or return-to-work assistance.
  2. Interact with the employee. A Workplace Possibilities consultant is available to engage an employee in conversation and better understand what factors may be contributing to delays in their recovery. A consultant can openly talk with an employee to learn about any psychosocial issues that may be impacting them and consider the right resources that could help.
  3. Integrate programs to treat employees. A Workplace Possibilities consultant also can integrate other benefits resources to help an employee get the full range of support they need. This can include using services to help navigate the health care system during treatment or recovery through referrals to other benefits vendors, including disease management, wellness and employee assistance programs, if needed.
  4. Improve outcomes. A comprehensive approach that treats the whole person can help an at-risk employee stay at work and allow an employee with a disabling condition to return to work more quickly. Overall, your costs are lowered when employees can return to work and be productive.

These four steps are critical to a comprehensive approach to disability management. And, by implementing them into your program, you can better address the diverse reasons that may influence or slow down an employee’s recovery process and help prevent delayed recovery.


About guest blogger Jung Ryu

Jung Ryu is the national accounts practice leader for The Standard and is responsible for developing comprehensive disability management solutions that address the whole person to meet the needs of the most complex clients. He provides recommendations in all aspects of benefits ranging from core to ancillary products, and is focused on providing strategic direction and advising stakeholders on the latest benefits trends.