Mark is in his late 40s and employed as a Union Coodinator for an Industry Union organisation. He is a non-smoker, has good cholesterol and blood sugar readings and has always kept himself relatively fit with moderate exercise. Mark was going about his normal routine when he collapsed in his shower, immediately fighting for his life due to an acute aortic tear in his heart vessel. It is considered a miracle he survived this unexpected event.

Mark was determined to recover from the outset, keen to resume life and return to work. He needed more than just cardiac rehabilitation, he needed a functional recovery approach to help him return to work and to life without aggravating his heart condition.

Mark experienced many of the challenges most cardiac events survivors experience:

  • Post-cardiac event fatigue, dizziness and lethargy.
  • Ambivalence about his medical condition and its
  • The stress of ongoing cardiac health management and lifestyle management including regular health check and managing the use of medication.

The objective of referring Mark to Rehabilitation Services by Altius was to assist with his recovery through problem-solving, goals setting and to develop a recovery plan to restore his life roles including work. The cardiac survival issues present did not impact on his readiness and ability to engage in support services for his recovery journey. Rehabilitation Services activated some of their available range of cardiac solutions for Mark and his employer. The insurer also had a significant role in this process by offering income support during a trial of return to work on supernumerary basis until Mark was able to resume capacity for normal duties.  

Rehabilitation Services by Altius developed workplace support enabling Mark to restore his confidence, function and safely return to work. This included:

  • Coordinating post cardiac specific services such as exercise physiology and psycho-education on managing fatigue and survivorships.
  • Providing support and education on cardiac recovery to the employer.
  • Providing workplace based support and guidance through regular workplace reviews, task modification, pacing and feedback to rebuild confidence and trust.
  • Coordinating and case conferencing with the treating providers to ensure consistent feedback and goal alignment to support the treaters and the person.
  • Designing a graded recovery at work plan for Mark, with fine-tuning and adjustment along the way to ensure sustainability with the insurer and employer’s support.

The Data

At initial presentation Mark was unfit for work and not working. On completion of his tailored rehabilitation program Mark returned to work, initially 8 hours per day for two days per week with restricted duties. Over the course of 12 weeks Mark upgraded to full time normal duties.

Mark successfully returned to his full-time role as Union Coordinator with his employer after 6 months of support and services on a 2 year benefit period of salary continuance. 

With engagement, support and alignment of stakeholders, combined with Mark’s tenacity and grit, this exceptional result is being sustained. He is adhering to his goals by:

  • Participating in a gradual plan to resume his work tasks in the workplace environment.
  • Having the full income support from the insurer during his transition back to work on a supernumerary role until he can be medically cleared for return to pre injury duties.

In Mark’s words:

Mark says, “Returning to work after a major health event was like starting all over again, vocational rehab was of great assistance in this process with a detailed return to work program around my health needs, with flexibility when required. Representing my best interest in the process, this allowed for a smoother, less stressful return to full time. Thank you”.

For information about tailored return to work solutions please contact us.