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Workers’ Compensation The Need to Treat Depression After a Workplace Injury

Workers Compensation for depressed employees
Workers Compensation for depressed employees

When an accident happens in the workplace, the state’s workers’ compensation is almost always involved. This is a major part of its role in providing timely care to injured workers. The benefits the program delivers is intended to provide physical healing and relief from pain, but in most cases, it is not able to erase or even spot the mental, emotional and psychological effects of the workers’ injury. 

A healthy mind, body and emotion is an essential aspect in every person’s desire to live a normal life. When an employee is injured on the job, it is not only the flesh and bones that hurt but their mind and emotion, especially if their injury impairs them or changes their physical appearance.  It should therefore be checked and if necessary, medically treated. From the viewpoint of an experienced workers compensation provider network, here are strong reasons why workers’ compensation needs to look into an employee’s mental and emotional state after an injury in the workplace:

1. Depression is a Common Consequence of Workplace Injuries

There are lots of forces that can affect an employee’s physical and mental well-being after they get injured on the job. These include quality and timeliness of care among others, and they play a big role in an injured worker’s journey to recovery. While these factors work together to make injured workers recover faster, there are other less-apparent injuries that can remain. These are injuries of the mind and emotion.  

According to results of a study published by the National Library of Medicine,  injured employees are 45% more likely to get treatment for depression than employees who never had any work-related injuries. Additionally, people who sustain injuries at work are more likely to get depressed than people who were hurt somewhere else, according to research.  

The effects of depression cannot be downplayed or underestimated. Yet, treatment for depression resulting from an injury in the workplace may not be covered under workers’ compensation. If this is the case, employees who suffer from depression, as a result of an injury at work, may not be able to get medical help or cognitive therapy. This could extend the injured worker’s time out of work and affect their performance when they return. It can mean added costs to you.

As an employer, you can prevent this from happening by accepting the fact that depression can happen in your workplace. Taking steps to address it in a proactive manner would be a winning strategy for you and your injured worker.

Pay particular attention to your employees who sustain work-related injuries because they are most susceptible to depression. 

2. The COVID-19 Pandemic is also Causing Stress Pandemic

The negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic like widespread layoff, travel and leisure restrictions, school closures and the fear of the pandemic itself is causing too much stress especially to employees who are the family’s breadwinners.

The National Safety Council reports that 90% of employers are worried that the pandemic scare could affect mental health and cause chronic stress that can affect the employees’ fitness for work.

In its June 2020 content, the Centers for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals in its Morbidity and Mortality Report that young adults, ethnic minorities, unpaid adult caregivers and adult caregivers are experiencing “disproportionately worse” mental conditions, substance abuse and suicidal tendencies. 

When treating injured employees, front liners in the workers’ compensation system like physicians, case managers and claim adjusters should consider an injured employee as a whole person and not focus solely on the person’s injury. They should observe these patients and look for signs that they are experiencing stress due to their injury.  

One of the ways to know that an injured employee is suffering from stress and possible depression because of an injury is to see these indicators:

  • The injured workers doesn’t look optimistic about a fast recovery and isn’t interested in getting back to work
  • The injured employee seems to develop self-destructive behaviors
  • The injured employee is losing interest in self-care and tends to ignore recommendations for promoting wellness.

Case managers should detect these indicators by monitoring their patients. It can help them find out whether an employee is enduring depression due to their injury. 

Upon seeing some signs, case managers should act promptly to identify and address their possible causes. This can help to eliminate potential barriers to the patient’s recovery and restore their confidence to get back to work asap. Eliminating these barriers is essential because they are the main cause of an injured workers’ loss of interest to return to work. 

3. There are Techniques Medical Services Providers can Use to Lead Injured Employees Back to Health 

All workers’ compensation claims are distinct and unique, and some claims are even complex. But with the use of modern techniques like behavioral coaching, active listening, and in some cases, psychosocial interventions, they will have the ability to repair an injured worker’s broken spirit.  

The mental and emotional effects of work-related injuries should be given due weight and consideration as a component of injured workers’ medical treatment. They shouldn’t be considered as a secondary need. When treating injured workers, Medical services providers need to treat these patients holistically; focusing merely on the injury can not heal the mental and emotional effects the experience may have caused. 

By looking at the patient as a whole person, it’s possible for medical services providers to help injured workers cope up with the mental and emotional consequences of workplace injuries.

Direct Pay Provider is a medical management company that is connected to a large workers compensation provider network. We’re always ready to offer workers compensation solutions to optimize your costs as an employer, and provide necessary medical treatment to your injured employees. We help facilitate fast recovery and early return to work of your injured employees.  

Call us at (866) 214-5920.

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