Have you ever been acutely sick or in pain and needed to make decisions about where to get help? Employee health is as much about insight into the condition itself as it is about treatment.

This year I developed acute tonsillitis and should’ve gone to A&E significantly quicker than I did.  This definitely elongated my recovery time. By that time I had to get admitted to hospital (this always happens on a weekend!). I found it difficult to think clearly about my symptoms and then to decide when and where to get help from.

Every week I take health histories (case management) from a wide variety of employees and 2 or 3 individuals can have the same health issue. Employee health is complex. What sets them apart in terms of recovery is not the condition itself but how they approach it.

Their approaches seem to fall into 4 categories:

  1. Great insight, super motivated to get well (5-10% of cases)
  2. Reasonable insight, moderate motivation (50-60%)
  3. May or may not have insight, can experience a great deal of self pity and/or are overwhelmed by the situation which paralyses them from helping themselves (1-5%)
  4. Low insight into symptoms &/or condition, do what they think is right but would do more if they had more insight (the rest)

It is easy to pigeonhole every employee who does not appear wholly committed to their recovery or wellness as being in Category 3.  In my experience, in terms of employee health, 95-99% of people I assess want to get well but a reasonable proportion of them struggle to take a birds eye view of their health and formulate a plan.

There are some great gains to be made on employee health, with the people who have a low or a reasonable level of insight into their symptoms and condition.  These individuals just need some additional insight into their health which then enables them focus more sharply on the best ways to address their issues and normally they are off and running.

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