Changing the trajectory: Work Injury Screening & Early Intervention (WISE)

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What is this webinar about?

Changing the trajectory: Identifying and treating injured workers early for better return to work outcomes

Preventing pain-related work disability: Match treatments to risks

Preventing delayed return to work after work injuries has long been a major focus for workers compensation schemes. Unfortunately, in NSW despite scheme restructuring and promotion of guideline-based treatments, the RTW rates have remained largely unchanged over the last 10 years. Investigations and reports into the NSW scheme have identified numerous problems with the scheme. One of the problems mentioned in the Dore Report (2019) was related to identifying workers at risk of delayed recovery. This is surprising as there has been a considerable amount of research into this issue, including a NSW study that has gained international recognition. Importantly, that study, called the WISE study, not only demonstrated that injured workers at risk of delayed RTW could be identified within days of their injury, but also that interventions matched to the individual worker could reduce lost time from work by half, compared to usual care, and these outcomes were sustained over a 2-year follow-up. A replication study covering all states in Australia is nearing completion of a 1-year follow-up and so far the results have mirrored those found in the WISE study. This paper will describe these studies and consider the lessons to be learnt from them and the recent international early intervention literature.

The Speaker

Professor Michael Nicholas is a Clinical Psychologist and the Director of Pain Education at the Pain Management Research Institute, Kolling Institute, Sydney Medical School, at the Royal North Shore Hospital, where he also directs interdisciplinary pain management programs.

Michael has a national and international reputation in this field, with over 250 publications on pain assessment and management. His current research interests include early psychosocial interventions to prevent long-term disability in injured workers. His most recent study has demonstrated that injured workers at risk of delayed recovery can be identified within days and RTW in half the time of those offered usual care.

Professor Michael Nicholas, PhD
Director, Pain Education Unit, The Kolling Institute, Faculty of Medicine and Health
Director, Pain Management Programs, Pain Management and Research Centre,
Royal North Shore Hospital

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