The book, “Living Abled & Healthy, Your Guide to Injury and Illness Recovery”, written by Dr. Christopher Brigham, is, simply put, a work that should find its way into the hands of every newly injured worker. Published in 2015, it is an effort to “lay the cards on the table”, and help guide the injured worker away from the path of disability that so many today seem to find.
Brigham wrote the book to accommodate comprehension by people without advanced education, and he struck a perfect balance in the process. This is a book that talks with people, not down to them. Still, it pulls no punches in the process. In the very first chapter, “Health and Work”, Brigham, assisted by Henry Bennett, delves into what we refer to as the psychosocial issues that can envelop injured workers and misdirect their outcomes. It does an excellent job of laying out how a person’s past can inadvertently affect their future in stressful situations.
The book serves multiple purposes. While it is designed to make the injured aware of choices they have and the responsibilities to themselves in the process, it goes to great lengths to make understandable the process itself. One of the most effective chapters is one entitled “What Do We Mean?”, where the authors take the time to describe various phrases and elements common within workers’ comp vernacular. While this may seem somewhat trivial to the professional who works around these phrases every day, it is a vitally needed bit of information for many injured workers. This chapter is really representative of the greater intent of the book.
Simply put, it attempts to explain to the injured worker things we never bother to explain, and to cure an ignorance that costs us all dearly through worsened outcomes as a result.
I’ve often said that, in the absence of solid information cancerous thoughts will grow. Workers’ Compensation, as an industry, seems to have been born to prove that theory out. I can tell you from my own experience that injured workers entering our system are confused and befuddled, guided by complete misperceptions about who we are and what we do. The general lack of thorough communication in the form of understandable explanations and dialogue often creates a vortex of negative opinion with damaging results. Living Abled & Healthy is designed and intended to cure that particular ill. It provides explanations that will empower the willing injured, not in a confrontational mode, but rather one that can help them determine a better outcome for themselves.
The book has potential to help those who are willing to help themselves. Now the problem at hand is figuring out a way to get it into the hands of those who could benefit from its content. Perhaps for carriers and employers, distribution to newly injured workers might be an investment that pays handsomely down the road.
And frankly, it wouldn’t hurt for professionals within our industry to peruse its pages. The book can be a thought provoking eye opener for those who are only cognizant of one side of the workers’ comp coin.