Paul, a 24 year old arborist from regional Australia, shares his return to work journey after a dirt bike accident left him suffering from severe anxiety with no capacity for work.

Paul’s dirt bike accident left him with a fractured hip and cervical spine, requiring a bone graft, open-reduction and external fixation surgery. At the time of his referral to Rehabilitation Services by Altius he had no capacity for any type of employment and was suffering severe anxiety. He was also very anxious in social situations, avoiding public environments and unable to even look at a motorbike (including a video or picture of one) without getting the shakes and feeling nauseous.

Paul says “I had difficulty being a passenger in a motor vehicle due to anxiety and discomfort, my father was the only person I was comfortable travelling with, and even then I held on to the vehicle very tightly for the duration of a short trip”.

Experiencing chronic hip discomfort at the time of referral, with reduced mobility, Paul was not engaged in any physical or psychological treatment and was living a very isolated and sedentary lifestyle.

Rehabilitation Services by Altius met with Paul for an initial meeting to get to know him and his situation and understand his specific needs. A vocational assessment was conducted to ascertain previous education and employment history, as well as potential future vocational options. Paul’s rehabilitation consultant conducted a medical case conference with Paul’s treating physician, to discuss his current rehabilitation plan, treatment requirements, prognosis, recovery timeframes, as well as potential re-training and vocational options.

Rehabilitation Services by Altius continued to provide regular face to face vocational counselling sessions, to motivate Paul and educate him on the health benefits of good work, the need to engage in recommended treatment, as well as the benefits of engaging in regular activity and monitoring improvement in functional and exercise capacity.

Treatment by PeopleSense by Altius and OccHealth by Altius professionals were also included as part of Paul’s tailored, rehabilitation program - for counselling, functional screening and implementation of an independent exercise program. Altius Group consultants also supported Paul through discussions with one of his former employers who was running a traffic control business.

After further vocational counselling and motivational interviewing provided by Rehabilitation Services, Paul was encouraged to meet with his former employer to discuss future employment options. After some negotiation it was agreed Paul could commence work as a traffic controller, provided he was able to complete re-training in a traffic control course. Rehabilitation Services confirmed his physical capacity to complete the role through functional screening and obtained an endorsement from his treating physician.

Rehabilitation Services by Altius liaised with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) to confirm approval for the re-training course and shortly after Paul completed the course, he underwent functional screening and obtained clearance from his treating physician.

Paul returned to full-time work as a traffic controller within four months of the initial referral with Rehabilitation Services and has successfully maintained this employment for more than three months.