Success story: Support during an employee’s time to grieve

Success story: Support during an employee’s time to grieve

The death of a spouse or partner can be more debilitating than any physical condition. Many of us cannot even imagine how we would resume our daily lives after suffering such a significant loss. Understandably, individuals who lose a spouse often succumb to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other behavioral health conditions.

In these painful and difficult circumstances, an employee may need time to grieve as well as help coordinate the appropriate care before returning to work. The Workplace Possibilities℠ program provided that kind of support system to help an employee resume her productive role within the workplace.

A caregiver struggles with grief
A hospital care manager for individuals with eating disorders found herself in need of support when her husband passed away after being diagnosed with cancer. She had spent her husband’s last months at his side as he received treatment, rarely sleeping and struggling to cope.

After her husband passed, the employee was diagnosed with acute grief reaction and adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression. She sought help from a therapist and joined a grief group, but she was still unable to focus on her job. Counseling patients with eating disorders didn’t seem possible after she’d witnessed her husband’s weight loss during his treatment. She took leave from her job to deal with her grief and depression, hoping to return when she was again able to dedicate herself to the clients who needed her.

Going from overwhelming to manageable
After reviewing the employee’s claim, a Workplace Possibilities consultant reached out to her, offering to help her return to work when she was ready. During their conversation, the consultant learned that while the employee was in treatment, her primary care physician and therapist were not in communication with each other.

Knowing that coordinated care can be critical to a successful return-to-work plan, the consultant facilitated communication between the two providers with the employee’s permission. This was crucial as the physicians were confused as to who was responsible for releasing the employee to resume her job duties. Additionally, the consultant requested necessary records from the physician and therapist, and followed up with requests for the documentation needed to help enable the employee’s return to work.

The consultant’s attention to these important details and overall support eased the employee’s burden. Because a Workplace Possibilities consultant was helping to manage this complex process, the employee was able to focus on her recovery. She was also able to return to the job after just a few months.

You can position your employees for successful recovery
Everyone manages grief differently, and what works for one employee may not be the right solution for another. But with a Workplace Possibilities consultant helping to coordinate communication among providers and manage the return-to-work process, an employee can focus on recovery. This puts an employee in the best possible position to return to work in a way that makes sense for them.

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