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Adopt an Early Engagement Approach and Say Goodbye to Delayed Recovery Times

We recently partnered with WorkCompWire on the effectiveness of an early engagement approach when treating injured workers. The full article can be found below as well as on WorkCompWire’s website.

By Zack Craft, vice president, national product leader for durable medical equipment and complex care.

The most effective way to help injured workers regain maximum functionality and reduce costs is through an early engagement approach. This is the focus of two new innovative programs One Call launched this year to tackle workplace injuries associated with delayed recovery times and high claims costs – amputations and wounds.

The Complexity of Amputation

Let’s start with the complexity of workplace injuries that lead to amputation. The ultimate goal must be to return an injured worker to the most realistic functional level possible; however, the road to “ new normal” is multi-faceted. It involves physical rehabilitation of the amputation site, emotional rehabilitation for the psycho-social impact of limb loss, prosthetic intervention, environmental accommodation and therapy, and just time.

It’s important to establish a projected recovery path – complete with realistic goals and timeframes – at the onset of an injury. If an injured worker stays on the road to recovery without too many detours, there’s a better likelihood he’ll maintain a positive outlook and ultimately, return to maximum functionality. Therein lies the problem with most amputee cases. Delays in recovery – due to infection, chronic wounds, poor activity, co-morbidities, limited range of motion, and pain management – may slow the pace of prosthetic selection, fitting and delivery. This leads to poor rehabilitation outcomes and an average timeframe of six to nine months before an amputee can return to work on limited duty.

Amputee Solutions

One Call’s amputee solutions program establishes holistic patient-centric care paths focused on early engagement. The key to the program’s success is immediate access to a One Call on-staff prosthetist and specialized providers, expedited device authorization and rehabilitation, and psychological support. The earlier an amputee can see the potential for returning to work or just life, the sooner he can gain a positive outlook.

The Detrimental Effects of Chronic Wounds

While amputations are certainly some of the most severe of injuries, a more common issue that injured workers face is non-healing wounds. Chronic wounds affect 5.7 million people in the U.S. at an annual cost of $20 billion, with pressure ulcers among the most common chronic wounds3. Sadly, about 60,000 patients die as a direct result of a pressure ulcer each year4.

Wound Solutions

The primary goal of One Call’s wound solutions program is to provide optimal conditions for the natural reparative processes of a wound. This unique approach includes accessing the home environment and equipment to uncover the root-cause of the wound, facilitate healing and avoid recurrence. The program also incorporates innovative technology like remote wound monitoring and clinical expertise to access injured workers regardless of care venue.

Solution-based programs are forging a new path forward in the treatment of workplace injuries. By adopting an early engagement approach, prevention and intervention remain the focus throughout the continuum of care. The result: injured workers regain maximum functionality and independence, and that’s great news for everyone involved.

 

References
Roeschlein RA, Domholdt E. Factors related to successful upper extremity prosthetic use. Prosthet Orthot Int. 1989;13:14–8.
Return to work after occupational injury and upper limb amputation. M. Craig; W. Hill, K. Englehart, A. Adisesh. Occupational Medicine, Volume 67, Issue 3, 1 April 2017, Pages 227–229.
Frykberg RG, Banks J. Challenges in the treatment of chronic wounds. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle) 2015;4(9):560–82. doi: 10.1089/wound.2015.0635.
Are we ready for this change? Content last reviewed October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/hospital/pressureulcertoolkit/putool1.html

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