After a doctor advised that surgery would not be helpful in his case, Stanley said he was reluctant to believe that his injury could get better.
“I agreed to participate in the Wesley Back Rehabilitation Program, but I thought it would be a waste of my time and a waste of money as I couldn't see how I could benefit from it,” Mr Pidgeon said.
The rehabilitation program involved physiotherapy, adjustment to injury, pain management and education. By the end of the program, Stanley said he was completely converted in his way of thinking regarding his injury.
“I began walking during the program, and kept going afterwards. I now engage in a healthier lifestyle, including regular exercise, as I learned that my lower back pain was made worse by the extra body weight I was carrying.”
After completing the program, Stanley was given a clearance by his treating doctor to return to work in a gradual capacity.
He returned to work on a suitable duties plan, and his return to work coordinator Sharon Gaskin was very supportive in ensuring Stanley did not aggravate his injury.
“Sharon advised me to adhere to the restrictions on my medical certificate and avoid anything that could risk undoing all the hard work I had done in getting back to work,” Stanley said.
“She made me feel fully supported and gave me more confidence in my return to work, providing me with meaningful tasks that were within my ability. It really helped me transition back into the workplace and my usual work routine.
“I have been able to get my life back and I could not have been happier to get back to work.”
Throughout Stanley's rehabilitation, Sharon stayed in regular contact with him to discuss how his injury and treatment were progressing, and how she could support him in his recovery. Stanley still keeps in touch with Sharon and has even brought in homemade chocolates and sweets for her team to express his appreciation.
For other injured workers who find themselves in a similar situation, Stanley has the following advice: “Be open to the possibility that even though you may not be a candidate for surgery, it is not the be all and end all to stop the pain and fix your injury. There are other avenues that can be undertaken that are not as drastic that will assist you in managing your pain.
“A rehabilitation program can better equip and educate you to control and deal with the pain and emotional issues that come from sustaining a serious work injury.”
To help prevent workplace accidents like Stanley's, health care employers can consider the following risk management processes:
- greater use of a mechanical aid to assist with patient mobility
- an assessment of a patient's mobility in the first instance before undertaking patient handling tasks
- re-enforcement of patient handling training and annual competencies
- seeking assistance with other staff members when assisting with patient mobility.
Find out more about rehabilitation and return to work on our website, or call us on 1300 362 128.