Stressful compensation claims contribute to poor recovery after injury

Stressful compensation claims contribute to poor recovery after injury
Experienced stressful claims had greater levels of anxiety, depression and disability.

(Medical Xpress)—Compensation claimants who have stressful claims recover more slowly than those who have less stressful experiences, a Monash-led study has found.

The study investigated stressful aspects of transport accident or workers' compensation claims, and the impact of that on long-term recovery.

It found those who had experienced stressful claims had greater levels of anxiety, depression and disability and a slower recovery from injury,

The study tracked the experiences of 332 injury patients from across Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales who were hospitalised with injuries between 2004 and 2006, and went on to claim compensation.

Six years after their injuries, some of the major sources of stress reported were, understanding what needed to be done for a claim, claim processing times and the number of medical assessments required.

Lead author Dr Genevieve Grant, Monash University Faculty of Law, said the results from the study indicated a need to consider how stress can be minimised in claims processes.

"Reducing the stress claimants experience in claims processes has the potential to help to improve their recovery, and result in better outcomes", Dr Grant said.

"Ways to do this might include taking steps to minimise claim delays and enhance claimants' access to information about the process and their entitlements."

The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Melbourne and Stanford University.

For the complete list of recommendations and to access the full report, visit JAMA Psychiatry.

More information: Grant GM, O'Donnell ML, Spittal MJ, Creamer M, Studdert DM. "Relationship Between Stressfulness of Claiming for Injury Compensation and Long-term Recovery: A Prospective Cohort Study." JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;():. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.4023.

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