(NEWSER) – Eric Donovan loved his job of 17 years at a Canadian nonprofit agency that runs group homes and programs for adults with intellectual disabilities. But during the final years of his life, that love turned to stress as Donovan felt he was being bullied by Nadine Hendricken, his supervisor at Queens County Residential Services.
The stress got so bad he and his wife, Lisa, started fearing for his health.
On Oct. 31, 2013, he collapsed at home. He died days later of cardiac arrest at age 47. Now, Lisa has been awarded benefits after the Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island determined that
Donovan’s death was linked to bullying and harassment in the workplace, the CBC reports. Eric Donovan had no pre-existing medical condition that would have caused his death, the board heard. The suit also claimed he had been forced to do unsafe work and work extra hours, the Guardian reported last year.
This session at the 2016 California Workers’ Compensation & Risk Conference addressed some of the latest thinking and research related to the impact of mental well being and behavioral health in the workplace. Speakers included:
• Denise Zoe Algire, National Director, Managed Care & Disability, Corporate Risk Management, Albertsons/Safeway
• Dr. Teresa Bartlett, Senior Vice President Medical Quality, Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.
Mental health is a key component of wellness. It is a state of well-being in which an individual can cope and become a contributor. It includes how someone feels, thinks and acts and helps to determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Ultimately, mental health is about balance, resiliency and the ability to return to normal when something goes wrong. Mental health is also directly associated with performance in the workplace.
A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health poll released today finds that about half of the public reported a major stressful event or experience in the past year. Nearly half (43 percent) reported that the most stressful experiences related to health.
More than half of those who experienced a great deal of stress in the past month say too many overall responsibilities and financial problems were contributors. More than a third of those with a great deal of stress say the contributors include their own health problems and health problems of family members.
“Stress touches everyone. Unfortunately, many of those feeling the most stress get trapped in cycles that can be very unhealthy. If we are going to build a culture of health in America, one big step we can take is recognizing the causes and effects not just of our own stress and the stress of those closest to us, but of others we encounter in our day-to-day lives,” says Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO.
Are you afraid of surgery? Does the idea of yourself, or a loved one, entering a surgical theatre set your heart racing? If so, you are not alone.
Surgical anxiety is a fear. A natural human response to something out of our own control. It is most usually triggered by fear of the result. That is, in most cases, the anxiety arises when a patient remains uneducated to the details of the surgery that they are facing. This leaves them to imagine what the possible worst-case scenarios could be, both during and after the planned surgery. For example, a patient facing a surgical operation which results in a cosmetic change to the body, such as a mastectomy, might worry how their body will look after such an operation.
Fear of the unknown can have a powerful impact on the mind.
That’s not to say this is always the case. Some people may find themselves suffering with anxiety because of a previous bad experience themselves, some suffer with a fear of different types of surgical instruments, such as needles, which is known as Trypanophobia. Patients with an already existing anxiety disorder may find themselves more susceptible to surgical anxiety too. The truth is that most people will find this type of anxiety increases as the surgery draws closer and that is a completely natural thing to happen.
How Surgical Anxiety Can Impact Your Physical Health
Regardless of the cause, its important that the patient seeks the correct treatment and doesn’t feel as though they must suffer in silence. If left ignored, surgical anxiety can affect your physical health, these extra problems combined with stress and sleepless nights will almost certainly reduce your ability to cope, making the anxiety worse.
The physical symptoms associated with surgical anxiety can stretch further than you may be aware, with some experiencing chest pains and/or a strong feeling of nausea along with an increased heart rate. If the physical symptoms increase, and the circle of anxiety is allowed to continue, you may even find yourself cancelling an important operation due to the added stress. This isn’t an ideal situation, because in the long run it is essential that any surgery planned by your doctor can proceed. In order to for this to happen, you will need to learn to control your anxiety, and this isn’t an easy task when under stress.
How to Reduce Surgical Anxiety
The most important part of dealing with surgical anxiety is to fully inform yourself of the procedure you are facing. Immerse yourself in information from others who have endured the same surgery that you are facing. Learn about any therapy that may be helpful for you afterwards. Ask to speak to your surgeon beforehand and don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have regarding your surgery. The surgeon will be able to give you an idea of what exactly the procedure you are facing entails. By facing the facts head-on, and allowing yourself a better understanding, you will feel better informed as to what you can expect, and this will help to relieve some of your anxiety. Continue reading Dealing With Stress : How to Reduce Surgical Anxiety→
Scientific evidence is growing that adequate sleep is critical in working safely and maintaining optimal health. A recent study warns that a growing number of Americans are not getting enough sleep. This trend for shorter sleep is likely linked to global competition on
businesses, cost of living increases pushing workers to work longer hours, as well as personal choice to spend time on other activities besides sleep because of a lack of knowledge about the importance of sleep…
Inadequate sleep has critical negative impacts on the workplace. The risks from fatigued workers are broad reaching and extend from workers to employers and society. Risks to employers include reduced productivity and increases in worker errors and incidents ranging from medical errors to industrial disasters. Fatigue is a recognized risk factor for vehicle crashes and has been implicated in well-known disasters such as the 2009 Buffalo jet crash and the 2005 BP Texas City explosion.
In December 2010, Healthy People 2020, the US national public health goals for the next 10 years, launched a new chapter for Sleep Health. There are four objectives: 1) increase the proportion of persons with symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea who seek medical evaluation; 2) reduce the rate of vehicular crashes due to drowsy driving; 3) increase the proportion of students in grades 9 through 12 who get 8 or more hours sleep each day; and, 4) increase the proportion of adults who get 7 or more hours sleep each day. NIOSH scientists are working on training programs to improve fatigue and sleep-related issues for workplaces. These will be added to the NIOSH topic page for work schedules as they become available (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/workschedules/). Check out the latest entry on the NIOSH Science Blog related to Sleep and Work http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2012/03/sleep-and-work/
For more tips on improving sleep and to learn what scientists are doing to improve societal well-being through sleep research, check out:
Evening and Night Work in Elder Care More Stressful!
According to a recent Danish study, worse support from managers, more physical and mental abuse and a higher physical workload leads to more stress for nighttime workers. That is partly what the staff at evening and night shifts in eldercare experience compared to their counterparts on day shift.
Researcher Kirsten Nabe-Nielsen performed the analysis, with the aim of the doctoral study being to investigate work-related health problems among shift workers in the Danish elderly. The studies were supported by the rate adjustment pool funds.
Questionnaire data collected from a cohort consisting of 2,870 newly-trained social and healthcare helpers and assistants showed that:
1. Upcoming shift workers lived more unhealthy than the next day work, even before they came into work
2. Smoking increased the probability of having evening, night work or work in 2/3-holdsskift night work a year later.
Cross-sectional data from questionnaires collected from 4,590 nursing staff in elder care showed:
1. Evening and night workers experienced lower quantitative requirements (i.e. the requirement to work quickly and cope with large workloads), lower job control, lower support from their leaders, more physical and mental violence, and a higher physical workload in relation to their colleagues on a day shift;
2. Apparently coincidences of adverse health factors among shift workers, which may contribute to why shift workers, are becoming more ill.
Data from an intervention study among 321 employees in elderly care and a follow-up measurement with 297 participants, who completed questionnaires, had blood tests and were interviewed showed:
1. Self-selected working hours increased the proportion of employees who were involved in planning their own working hours, from 19 percent to 97 percent;
2. Study could not demonstrate that self-selected working hours resulting in improved health and wellbeing.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.
Health & Workers' Comp News for California's Santa Maria Valley