Comp Clues


Recovery Secrets

By Methodist Occupational Health Centers
| Date: 06/01/2004

Do you know one of the secrets to the FASTEST injury recovery? KEEP YOUR APPOINTMENTS! It is essential to keep medical appointments at their scheduled time periods. Medical interventions are designed to try to speed up the healing process. Regular reassessments are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the medications, icing, restrictions, splints, etc. and to decide if therapy could augment the process. Appointments are also timed for anticipated changes in symptoms and allow for assessment of the condition and any possible further diagnostic testing. If therapy is ordered, regular visits to therapy help to ensure that the injured worker has the most effective exercises and treatment. Delays in treatment increase the possibility of an injury that lasts longer and a slower than normal progression.

As an employer, you can help control the injury rate by creating an environment that supports compliance with appointments. Some suggestions are:

  • Set the ground rules with the injured associate at the time of injury with the expectation that they are responsible for keeping their appointments. There may be a protocol that your company follows with specific directions spelled out for the injured worker to follow. Remember that restrictions have an expiration date.
  • Assign a specific person to receive all paperwork from the medical clinic that should include documentation of their next appointment(s). Another recommendation is to make a copy of their appointment card(s) if they receive one. Require the return of paperwork be prompt. This will allow a second check on keeping track of appointments.
  •  If an appointment time changes, the associate should be required to notify their company contact.
  • As an employer, communicate with your injured worker about scheduling preferences that least disrupt the work environment. Scheduling during their work shift may help with morale and with compliance of keeping appointments. If you allow for appointments during work hours, it is fair to require the associate to try to schedule at a time that is least disruptive to the work environment.