To determine if psychological counselling services can be provided to a worker or family member.
The decision maker offers psychological counselling to help a worker or family member when they are experiencing difficulties related to a worker’s work injury. The family member"Member of a family” means a spouse or adult interdependent partner, parent, grandparent, stepparent, child, stepchild, brother, sister, half-brother and half-sister of a worker member as defined in Section 1(1)(q) of the Workers' Compensation Act [PDF] must be included in the definition as outlined in the Workers’ Compensation Act.
The need for counselling is often identified through open discussions with the worker or family member, or from another source such as a treating physician, medical reporting, etc. Counselling services and support are provided until the issues are resolved or treatment plateau is confirmed.
The decision maker works with the worker or family member to help them access services or identify resources to address the psychological impact of a work injury. Through a collaborative process, information about the impact of the work injury is gathered and together the worker or family member, and decision maker determine the best course of action. The decision maker refers for services with an authorized provider, taking into account the preferences and needs of the worker or family member. In the case of worker counselling, therapy is intended to address the psychological symptoms caused by the work injury. For family member counselling, therapy is intended to reduce the impact of the work injury on the family unit to help improve the worker support system in their recovery, or to support a family member or spouse in bereavement (worker fatality).
The process includes making the referral, monitoring treatment and addressing treatment extension requests.
Psychological counselling can be provided as treatment for a variety of reasons including:
Regular attendance (e.g., once or twice per week) best supports the worker’s or family member’s needs and allows treatment to be completed within a reasonable timeframe. Most people can expect to experience improvement in about five (5) to ten (10) counselling sessions.
Psychological or psychiatric symptoms may appear at any stage of the claim. Accessing psychological support early can prevent psychological issues from becoming diagnosable psychological conditions. Managing psychological injury/psychosocial issues for an injured worker must be with the focus of return to work. This includes physical injury claims where the physical injury may resolve or reach a medical plateauMedical plateau is normally reached when the worker's medical condition has stabilized, further significant medical improvement is unlikely, and permanent work restrictions can be confirmed. before the psychological injury. It can also address work-related barriers and provide an injured worker with the support they need to manage these challenges and return to work.
When a family member requests counselling independent from the worker, decision makers must inform of the limitations of disclosure. The family member’s name and request for treatment is documented on the referral form and becomes part of the claim file. Approval for payment is also documented on the claim file. The reason a family member needs counselling and their progress in treatment is placed on a separate file and stays in the Millard Health, Health Information Unit. Treatment, progress and requests for extensions are managed by the psychological support services team in collaboration with the decision maker.
Access to a family member’s file is limited to situations where an employer requests an appeal or review of claim costs before the Dispute Resolution and Decision Review Body or the Appeals Commission. Identifying information or the family member’s name is not disclosed. When a family member is not agreeable to disclosure in these situations, a referral to the Community Support Program can be made for assistance. During a crisis, support through the mental health line may be offered to address the urgent issue, followed by a referral to Community Support Program.
Joint counselling is treated as a request from the worker and information about the counselling including progress in treatment is documented on the file.
When counselling cannot be approved for a family member, community support program or resources through their employer should be considered.
The decision maker may authorize five counselling sessions when the entitlement decision for the diagnosis is pending or there is no confirmed psychological diagnosis.
The decision maker may authorize up to ten (10) counselling sessions for family members.