So… we’ve all heard a lot about the health benefits of work in recently, haven’t we?
As Rehabilitation Professionals, this isn’t new information to us. We’re all about helping our clients utilise good work as a tool to improved function and recovery.
But… we all know that the “health benefits of work” isn’t exactly an easy thing to implement. It does require a big change to get everyone on board with this new mindset and to actually implement it in a meaningful way that results in better outcomes for our clients and, most importantly, engagement in good, rewarding and gainful work.
Basically, there are a lot of barriers to making the health benefits of work a reality in this space.
So I thought I would put my Rehab Counsellor hat on and explore this issue a little further with a SWOT analysis. I use this tool frequently with my mentoring and rehabilitation clients who are on the precipice of making a big change.
STRENGTHS (i.e. – why bother?)
- An evidence based-approach to helping people live healthier, more productive lives
- Aligns well with our philosophy as health professionals
WEAKNESSES (i.e. – why is this so hard?)
- Takes time – no quick fix and requires a whole of life approach
- Work cannot be explored in a vacuum
- Requires personal responsibility for one’s own health – can’t be prescribed
OPPORTUNITIES (i.e. how will this help us, our clients and our industry?)
- An opportunity to develop new solutions and options for our clients, to think creatively and approach old problems in new ways
- Developing a whole of person approach to wellness and recovery, treating the whole person as opposed to just the injury
- The potential for developing new and more effective ways to manage long term claims and protracted illnesses
THREATS (i.e. what else needs a shake-up?)
- Our current systems reward people for staying sick and do not encourage them to become actively engaged in their own recovery
- Shifting the mindset that work needs to wait until someone feels better
- Dominant medical opinion that might be a barrier to work engagement
- Impatience – not wanting to do the hard work in search of a quick outcome (but perhaps a less impressive or durable one…)
As you can see, implementing the health benefits as work isn’t as easy as just talking about the evidence and hoping that our clients (and the other people in their lives) cotton on.
The health benefits of work is truly at the heart of what we do – but what needs to change to make it a reality?
Your thoughts – are there any bullet points you think we need to add above?