Person-centred approach captures hearts and minds

Linda Byrnes' fixed focus on recovery, return to work and best outcomes for everyone involved in an injured worker's rehabilitation journey is why she was selected as an icare Industry Champion.

Linda Byrnes

Industry Champion, Outstanding Care & Service (Rehabilitation and Support), Linda Byrnes

As one of Rehab Management's Customer Relationship Managers for Allianz Insurance for NSW (IfNSW), she is dedicated to achieving outstanding results for all her customers.

Renee Thornton, State Manager NSW, nominated Linda because of her commitment to sharing her deep knowledge of complex injury management with other consultants, employers and insurers to support them all to deliver exceptional outcomes.

"Linda has provided direct care and quality services as an Occupational Therapist for over 22 years, particularly in vocal injuries, her area of specialisation," says Renee.

"But her contribution goes far beyond that. She is responsible for managing Allianz IfNSW accounts, including the Department of Education, and has achieved extraordinary results: the rolling 12-month NPS score for these accounts is 59.1, up from 55.1 for FY19 and 41.9 for FY18.

"By gaining an understanding of the needs and preferences of individual stakeholders she builds tailored and sustainable solutions, delivered in true partnership."

Linda was honoured to be selected, acknowledging it is a joint effort.

"I am passionate about seeking positive outcomes. The team at Rehab Management made the award possible, with our ongoing drive for innovation, new ideas and a can-do attitude that brings an idea to life," she says.

Understanding psychological injuries

One of Linda's greatest achievements is improving the outcomes for claimants with psychological injuries. Her research revealed poor employer understanding about the factors which can lead to psychological claims.

She developed a training program for industry, government, insurers and employers across Sydney and regional NSW where she educated them about pre-claim triggers and the benefits of psychologically safe workplaces. She set up special interest groups and training for Rehab Management staff on social connections, understanding and managing pain, and health and lifestyle.

"The benefits have been clear," says Renee.

"Our NPS across the business has improved by eight points since the onset of COVID-19."

Tackling COVID restrictions

Linda being Linda, she openly embraced the challenges of COVID-19. She faced a conundrum: Rehab Management customers rely on occupational therapists (OTs) to provide activities of daily living (ADL) yet they feared potential infection and were worried about how they would cope without support.

She developed a telehealth virtual assessment service, wrote procedural guidelines and trained all of Rehab Management's OTs on how to conduct a virtual assessment.

In addition, to alleviate her customers' concerns, she instigated measures to reduce their need for ADL by providing equipment and by empowering them to adapt their requirements, while maintaining good service.

"No-one anticipated that we would see a reduction in the need for domestic services, and a 20 per cent drop in ADL service costs," says Renee.

"Along with this came independence, empowerment and recovery, with ongoing benefits for injured workers living in regional and remote areas long after the COVID-19 crisis."


Feedback from an employer:

"I found the information in your training very informative and incredibly relevant to my day-to-day duties. Especially the symptoms of the four major psychological diagnoses and effective RTW strategies for each."

Feedback from an insurer:

"I will always be grateful for the time, education and guidance provided by Linda, and the positive impact she had on her customers."

icare Industry Champion 2020

Industry Champion 2020

icare’s Industry Champion 2020 replaced the well-respected recognition program the Care and Service Excellence (CASE) Awards due to COVID-19.

This program is an opportunity to recognise those organisations and individuals making outstanding, positive contributions to the delivery of insurance and care services in NSW during a challenging year for our industry.

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