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Disability Management:
new trends are emerging

Several world-class conferences took place in the last six months in the ever-changing field of disability management.

As a true pioneer and leader in prevention, intervention and rehabilitation, particularly in terms of the integrated approach, Optima Global Health remains on the lookout of significant trends in this field and wishes to share this strategic information with its customers and business partners.

In this perspective, here are some of the key trends in disability management that may have an impact on the policies and practices of Canadian organizations.

The “Sick Note” replaced by the “Fit Note”

Over the past couple of years, the UK’s “Fit Note”, which replaces the “Sick Note”, was adopted by Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Austria, the Netherlands and some American states. More recently, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board has adopted the British model and will implement in 2013 the “Fit Note” template, which will be named “FAN” or “Functional Assessment Note”. It is therefore probably only a matter of time before this new approach extends to other Canadian provinces, firstly through government insurers.

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Ongoing lack of training and qualified specialists

Two important long-standing issues still exist in most countries, including Canada:

  • lack of training on how to keep in touch and communicate with employees on disability leave
  • lack of qualified rehabilitation and disability management specialists

Well aware of these problems, Optima Global Health has trained hundreds of professionals in this field over the last 20 years and annually provides training to hundreds of employers on the importance of keeping in touch with their disabled employees and on how to do it best. In addition, it’s worth noting that some universities have been offering relevant study programs and courses on the subject, including the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec.

For more information:

The World Report: Relevant data to take into consideration

The World Report on Disability submitted in June 2011 indicates that the worldwide rate of disability currently stands at 15%. This rate tends to be higher in richer countries. Also, a growing number of rehabilitation and disability management actions are increasingly aimed at people over the age of 50. Moreover, in Germany and Belgium, close to 50% of the target population is in this age group. These figures are based on sound data endorsed by more than 380 researchers from 70 countries.

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An effective and lucrative combination

McDaid (2011) suggests that mental health prevention programs embedded into early intervention yield an ROI of $8 for each $1 invested. These numbers support the conclusions of research on more than 1.7 million people in the United States, which provided results of $3.85 per $1.00 invested in a combined program including an employee assistance program with a basic disability management program. Indeed, at a 2010 conference, researchers believed that these results could double if the employee assistance program and prevention programs were in direct synergy with early intervention and rehabilitation.

For more information:

Optima Global Health’s regular participation in numerous nationwide and international seminars and conferences certainly helps keep the company at the forefront of new trends in the field and to make its customers and partners benefit from the advantages it provides.