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Giada and Matteo’s story

Giada, a gelato maker at La Macelleria Gelateria, required surgery after being diagnosed with repetitive strain injury. The steps her employer, Matteo, took soon after helped Giada return to work and wellbeing.

This is Giada and Matteo’s story in their words.

Matteo: Giada is a big part of La Macelleria. She's the manager. She is also our cake designer. Obviously when I heard about the injury, it was kind of a shock.

Giada: As many people in hospitality, I had some issues related to repetitive strain injuries. And so, what happened is that after 18 years doing this job, I kind of developed carpal tunnel in both hands, and my elbow - I had some issues in term of tennis and golf elbow, epicondylitis. I arrived to a point that I couldn't sleep much because it's a nerve kind of issue. Working was getting very difficult.

Matteo: We decided, better to stop, figure out the plan. You can take sick leave, holidays until we figure it out and then basically WorkCover came into place.

Giada: I received both carpal tunnel release surgery, both wrists, and I received four injections in my elbow.

Rachael: So, once Giada got some clearance from her specialist post-surgery, and then WorkCover sent through a referral to come out and assist with, just clarifying if there were some duties she could do within the workplace.

Giada: I basically decided whatever was possible to do, also I was very keen to come back to work, because staying home was a little too much for me not doing anything.

Matteo: She's pretty active. She can't stay still, so it was really important to find the duties where the hands were not involved.

Rachael: So sometimes a suitable duty can also be alternate duties that is not within her normal duties. So, for Giada it was doing more mentoring of other staff of how to make gelato, which wasn't part of her normal role.

Matteo: So basically, just supervising, give a hand to new staff members and take care of that side of the business.

Giada: My job is still tied to using my hands a lot, and so with a double surgery like that, honestly, I couldn't pay rent, so I'm extremely grateful. It was big help for my family.

Matteo: It's really important to stay connected. They want to actually be involved and feel that you are present, and you want to help them through recovering, and come back to the workplace.