How the treatment of traumatic brain injuries has changed and the positive role of workers’ compensation

An American workers’ compensation blog, Workers Comp Insider, posted a fascinating article on the workplace-related traumatic brain injuries.  The article discusses a new research paper by Peter Rousmaniere – “Gray Matters: The Employer’s Role in Brain Injury Recovery”.

The original article in Risk Management magazine is also a good example of clear writing on  a complex matter.

Clearly, workers who receive a severe brain injury should not be shuffled away into the Never-Never as is traditional.  There are counselling and rehabilitation techniques available that have originated from many sources, including contemporary wars.

Workers Comp Insider writes:

“Part of the challenge is early identification, rapid response, and aggressive treatment early in the injury, and aggressive recovery goals.  Patients who are treated in the workers comp system, where care is often managed and coordinated and where insurers and employers aggressively advocate for recovery and return to work, often have an advantage over those patients treated under group health.  With workers compensation, employers/insurers have financial responsibility for the life of a claim and, therefore, more incentive to work towards maximum recovery.”

Regardless of the importance advice about early treatment, the last sentence seems to indicate a cultural management role for workers’ compensation policies, a perspective rarely heard in Australia.

SafetyAtWorkBlog does not report on defence force injuries often because the cross-industry relevance is often strained but as I have a cousin who was in the British armed force in the Middle East who was seriously brain-damaged by a roadside bomb, the rehabilitation initiatives have particular importance.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia

4 thoughts on “How the treatment of traumatic brain injuries has changed and the positive role of workers’ compensation”

  1. Thanks Kevin,

    The matter of retrospective action in workers compensation claims relating to cause of injury would still be reliant on comprehensive studies and therefore, the need for ongoing studies as suggested, to provide a moving and up to the minute comprehensive history as new technology evolves is very important. It is not that different to requirements of the FDA with drug companies etc.

    Just a thought, maybe the cigarette or asbestos issues fall into a similar category. What did they know and when did they know it???. I suggest there is a real need to get on the front foot with this, as the amount of smoke around the issue certainly indicates there is the likelihood of fire.

    Mobile communication usage use escalating at a phenomenal rate.

  2. I have been watching with great interest, the matter of mobile phone usage and the great variety of reports emanating from all sides of the argument. Sooner or later this is going to end up in a claim supported by a very well funded organization to push the limits on damage that is caused by excessive use of mobile phones (2-3 hours plus per day). If one or two claims get up then Pandora\’s box is well and truly open and industry at every level can\’t say it has not been warned.

    The so called trials on this type of technology need to be undertaken using double blind trials in each hemisphere of the earth with no communication between the hemispheres to ensure completely independent outcomes the trials should be ongoing over 10 years reporting in full every 2 years or on specific findings of concern. The WHO is the only body with the capacity to oversee this type of project as opposed to industry and other adhoc research of dubious quality.

    I would be interested to hear others thoughts on the matter.

    1. Tony

      Please search the SafetyAtWorkBlog site under phones and see what has been written previously.

      I think one of the limiting factors to research in this area is that the time required for research does not match the rate of technological change in telecommunications. Research can be done on the current generation of phones and by the time the findings are released everyone is using the next generation of mobile phones. The benchmarks keep changing in this are so the findings are always \”out-of-date\” and therefore people dismiss it.

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