Early intervention service pilot project
Comcare partnered with several Australian Public Sector agencies to test whether a structured and independent early intervention service provided:
- early access to treatment support services
- self-management (where clinically appropriate)
- enhanced ability, and support, to recover at and return to work.
The early intervention pilot has concluded and was independently evaluated, the findings and reports are now available.
Comcare has developed two new better practice resources for implementing, monitoring and evaluating effective early intervention programs that are proven to deliver significant improvements to workers’ recovery at and return to work.
- Better practice: Early intervention programs (PDF, 348.5 KB)
- Monitoring and evaluation framework (PDF, 334.7 KB)
The better practice resources draw on available research and findings, including learnings from the early intervention pilot program and recommends organisations to:
- Implement a structured early intervention program
- Offer early intervention for both work and non-work-related injury and illness
- Include a triage service
- Collect data on the program ensuring compliance with relevant privacy legislation
- Use the data for prevention and monitoring
- Conduct stakeholder engagement, promotion and evaluation activities.
The monitoring and evaluation framework provides ideas and practical steps for workplace early intervention programs.
What is early intervention?
Early intervention aims to minimise the impact and duration of emerging symptoms of ill health and/or injury or illness. It aims to achieve this through the provision of early and appropriate clinical and self-management treatment and support to employees to treat their symptoms, injury or illness and mitigate the development of a chronic or secondary condition.
What are the benefits of early intervention?
Early intervention is critical to helping employees with an injury or illness recover at and return to work. It has been shown to significantly reduce the impact and duration of emerging symptoms of ill health, injury or illness, and prevent secondary or chronic conditions.
Evidence also suggests that focused early intervention programs ensure that employees feel supported by their workplace and help drive a positive workplace health and safety culture.
The pilot was open to any employee who sustained an injury or illness at work or developed symptoms that impacted their ability to work, regardless of the cause.
The pilot model operated as follows:
|Step 1:||The employees called the nurse triage service.|
|Step 2:||The nurse clinically assessed the employee’s condition and provided treatment advice, including self-management, first aid or a GP, or an allied health referral where appropriate.|
|Step 3:||The employer received notification of the triage call, along with aggregate data and reporting on the pilot’s progress.|
|Step 4:||The nurse follows up with the injured employee.|
The pilot was evaluated by Deloitte. Results demonstrated significant improvements to recovery at and return to work and a positive cost benefit for employers.
Other organisations involved
- Several Australian Public Service agencies
- Injurynet – the early intervention service provider
- Deloitte – evaluation consultants.
Findings and reports
- Early Intervention Service Pilot Evaluation executive summary (PDF, 393.6 KB)
- Early Intervention Service Pilot Evaluation factsheet (PDF, 222.9 KB)
- Early Intervention Evidence Review report (PDF, 1.1 MB)
See other mental health initiatives that Comcare is leading or a part of.
For more information on this research project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Training on early intervention
We provide training through our learning management system called Comcare LMS.
For more information about the courses we offer, see Training and learning.