The Road Trip
No one dreams of or prepares for a catastrophic injury, yet at every turn, injured workers and their families are faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges that even the experts appear ill equipped to solve. Adjusting to the significant life change adds even more to an already full “itinerary.”
It is helpful to look at recovery as a journey. Although this “road trip” is not one people are looking forward to or have a chance to plan for, it is a nice metaphor in many ways.
Here are five concepts to help injured workers “stay on the interstate” rather than ending up “taking the back roads”:
Be clear on the destination
Envision the best possible outcome and the steps needed to reach it. Make sure everyone remains in alignment and use it as a guide for upcoming “forks in the road.”
Map the route.
Balancing the emotional toll and grieving process with planning for what’s to come is no easy task, and even the most well-planned trips have unexpected obstacles. Leveraging industry and clinical expertise promotes decision making and positive outcomes.
Hope for a short trip but prepare for a cross country commute.
A speedy, full recovery is always the goal, and regardless of how this plays out, balancing immediate decisions with long-term planning is challenging. In the midst of the chaos, the tension between hope and realism can be elusive. Skillful consideration of both keeps the process moving forward.
Cross the bridges.
Bridges are new beginnings and new opportunities that lead to unfamiliar challenges and and adjustment period. Simply knowing what to expect, having the right amount of support, and a good plan stabilizes this quickly.
Adopt an “Ask for Help” mindset.
Help is available every step of the way. Asking for it is not giving up. Instead, it is refusing to give up. Find people and providers who are a good fit and consistently go the extra mile. Set and maintain high expectations, hold them accountable, and build relationships with them.