Crutches, Canes and Walkers – Are They Being Used Correctly?

Do you have employees that are injured and require one of these aids to get around? Have you ever tried to walk using crutches or a walker? It is really not all that easy to get used to. Many people use these aids improperly and are risking further injury to themselves.

I spent many years working in an ER and found that most people are not able to get up and use crutches or walkers on their first try. I can recall spending quite a bit of time with patients, teaching them the proper way to use these aids. Having your injured employees understand how to use these aids is crucial to their recovery, and even for possible prevention of further injury.

Crutches, walkers, and even canes help your legs heal by bearing the weight you would normally put on your legs. However, the benefits can only be realized if the devices are used properly. Crutches that are too long can press on the nerves in your underarms, causing tingling, numbness and/or loss of muscle strength. Crutches, walkers, and canes that are too short, or mismatched, can cause back pain and falls.

In Health and Wellness Rooms, injured employees are taught, among other things, how to properly use their walking aids. Through guidance and self studies, an employee can learn the proper way to use these aids and help prevent the prolonging of their recovery. Knowledge helps create confidence that can help them when taking those steps towards recovery and returning to work. An added benefit: when employees feel that their employer has their best interest in mind, they are more inclined to return to work.

Don’t Let your Employees Return to Work ‘Broken’

When an employee gets hurt on the job and goes on Worker’s Comp, they usually just end up sitting at home all day long waiting for their injury to heal so that they can go back to work. In most cases, the employee’s regular job is a very physically demanding one that keeps them fairly healthy. But when they get injured, their job becomes a far more sedentary one. This sudden shift to a sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to their body and overall health, including a wide spectrum of different types of diseases and disorders affecting all parts of the body. Some of the risks can be increased by as much as 50% or more.

A few examples of these risks include:

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders: Low Back Pain, Osteoarthritis, Bone Fractures, Connective Tissue Tears, Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular Disorders: Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), Congestive heart Failure, Atherosclerosis (Hardening of Arteries), Coronary Heart Disease, Hypercholesterolemia (High Cholesterol), Cardiomyopathy (any disease affecting structure and function of heart)
  • Metabolic Disorders: Overweight, Obesity, Diabetes
  • Cancer: Breast, Colon, Lung, Prostate
  • Pulmonary Diseases: Emphysema, Asthma, Chronic Bronchitis
  • Psychological Disorders: Depression, Mood, Anxiety


Is Football Contributing to Work Comp Fraud?

What better thing to do on a Sunday than have a BBQ at home, watch some football, and then maybe go and toss the ball around. Going in for that interception! Tackle!

Did you know that work comp fraud is rising, and faking that football injury as a Monday work related injury could cause your employee to go to jail and/or be fined?

California employers in the insurance industry, District Attorneys, and an anti-fraud campaign are all playing a very important role in protecting your premiums and trying to keep these crimes down. As an employer, it is so important to keep both eyes peeled when employee injuries come about immediately after a weekend.

Unfortunately, there are people out there looking for free ride and we encourage you, the employer, to pay special attention after a claim has been filed.

Did the employee report the injury right away? Can they remember all the details of the accident? Were there any  witnesses? Also watch for changes in their story, or if you find they are doing activities that are not consistent with their injury. Finding out that your “injured employee” finally finished that kitchen remodel is very suspicious. If your employees hurt themselves at work and want to get better, they will attend all the necessary appointments.  Missing appointments can sometimes be reason to suspect fraudulent activity.

All these activities do not mean they are being fraudulent, but as an employer you always need to be on your toes and protect yourself, and your business, against workers trying to make an extra buck on at your expense.

Talking With A Doctor – Be Prepared

Visiting a doctor’s office can make your injured workers nervous, impatient, or even scared. They may end up having only a few minutes with their health care provider. Later, they might remember something they forgot to ask, or they may forget what the doctor or nurse said. Being prepared can help them get the information they need. Here are some tips you can give to your injured workers to help them make the most of their doctor visit:

  • Make a list of their concerns, any allergies, and all the medicines, herbs or vitamins they may be taking
  • Provide a detailed description of their symptoms – when they started, what makes them better or worse
  • Bring a notepad – and use it
  • Have a trusted friend or relative to go with them

Make sure that your employee understands their diagnosis, any treatments they may receive, and encourage them to have their provider write down instructions. If they still have trouble understanding the different aspects of their injury, provide them with resources so they can gain the knowledge.

With all the work your company or business has to do, these issues may seem tough to handle. Proof:Positive can handle these issues for you. Proof:Positive can help monitor each injured employee’s case along with providing them with the knowledge and understanding of their injuries. Our Health and Wellness Rooms provide a platform for each injured employee to ask questions and help educate them on their injury and recovery. Proof:Positive has experienced medical staff in each room that can help your injured workers learn how to prevent, and recover from, their injuries. Contact us to see how we can help alleviate the worry and management of your injured workers.

Help Your Injured Employees Heal Themselves

Many people injured at work place all of the responsibility of getting well on the doctor. But, what most injured workers do not appreciate is that you have the ability to heal yourself! The doctor is an important part of the process but he only guides you down the right path. It is up to you to walk that path towards recovery and a fast return to work.

“Understanding my injury helped me to recover, and the opportunity that I had here in the Health and Wellness Room to do my therapy and stay active during my rehabilitation is what got me back to work faster than when I hurt my back two years ago.” This is what one of our client’s injured workers told me when he brought in his return to work release papers. He said the information we provided about his injury really gave him an understanding of his injury. He told me that we were motivating him to go back to work. “I was able to walk, exercise, use heat and ice, but best of all I didn’t end up on the couch trying to heal. I feel like I got more attention in the Health and Wellness Room then I did from my doctor or therapist.”

When injured workers rely on the doctor to do all the healing they are prolonging their injury and return to work. They still have to do their therapy and remain active to keep their body from becoming weakened by injury. Help your employees learn about their injuries. This is how you heal with the assistance of a doctor. Knowledge of injuries and ways to prevent them in the future benefit everyone.

Health and Wellness Rooms provide a motivated atmosphere to return to work. Educational materials, therapy beds, ice and heat, medical professional on staff, and a common goal for returning injured workers back to their jobs. Getting off the couch each day keeps employees in work mode, which helps transition back to full duty. Keeping the mind set on returning to work helps the body heal. Exercise gets the blood circulating which helps promote healing. Giving your employees a motivated atmosphere to heal, keep a positive mental attitude and help with recovery.

Mental Attitude Can Have a Positive Affect on Physical Health

Studies show that your mental health can influence your physical health. And certain personality traits – such as optimism or pessimism – can influence how well you live and even how long you live. It is important to create a positive atmosphere for your employees. It also very important to create that same environment for your injured employees. Having a positive mental outlook can also help promote healing. It is easy to forget about the physiological and psychological affects that an injury has on an employee.

Researchers evaluated results from a personality test taken by participants more than 30 years ago and compared them to the sudsequent mortality rates. They found that people who scored high on optimism had a 50 percent lower risk of premature death than those who scored more pessimistic. Besides a lowered risk of early death, researchers found other health benefits related to positive attitude. In the study, optimist reported:

  • Fewer problems with work or other daily activities because of physical or emotional health
  • Less pain and fewer limitations due to pain
  • Less interference from physical or emotional problems when engaging in social activities
  • Increased energy
  • Feeling more peaceful, happier and calmer



A Well Designed Return to Work Program

A well-known proverb says, “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I will remember, involve me and I will understand.” This quote explains what good training can do for any safety program.  You may already have a safety program at your job but what about education for your injured employees. Once injured there is a great opportunity to help your employees learn about their injuries and how to prevent further accidents from occurring.

Proof:Positive Consulting can help your injured employees return to work fast, safely and effectively. At Proof:Positive, our objective is to make worksites safer, more efficient, and more profitable. We accomplish this by providing comprehensive light-duty and safety programs that cut operational costs and speed return to work for employees on temporary disability. Aside from accident prevention, an Early Return to Work (ERTW) program is a manager’s best tool to control Worker’s Compensation costs and reduce losses. ERTW programs have been proven to work in state agencies, the public sector and private firms across the nation. The key word is “Early.” Your response at the time you learn of the illness or injury has a profound impact on the outcome of most cases. ERTW actions should start as soon as possible. However, because specific illnesses or injuries may require varying amounts of time for healing, the time limits on Early Return to Work should also be flexible and based on the medical judgement of the treating physician. More…

Educate Your Employees on the Fundamentals of a “Tendon” to Reduce Workplace Injuries

Did you know, if you educate Your Employees on the fundamentals of “tendons and ligaments”, it can reduce your Workplace Injuries. By educating your employees on the basics of tendon and ligament injuries, you can drastically decrease the amount of repetitive motion injuries, sprains and strains, and other common OSHA recordable injuries. For example: if your employees know to use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) technique properly, they can avoid many types of cumulative trauma injuries that can exacerbate day after day. We all know that exercise, stretching, yoga, or some type of daily routine will decrease our waist lines, but do you also know that it will lessen the chance of cumulative trauma injuries, arthritis, sprains/strains, and many other types of workplace injuries? Here’s a quick lesson: More…