Connect & Care: Best practice support to workers experiencing a complex injury

Mr Adrian Paton1, Mrs  Farah Shams

1Icare, Sydney, Australia, 2QBE, Sydney, Australia

In 2019, 20 Youth Justice employees at Frank Baxter Centre suffered physical and psychological injuries from an inmate riot. This terrible flash point gave experts from icare, QBE and the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) the impetus to create a best practice method to better handle the fallout of these incidents – which are all-too-common in some workplaces.

Research shows strengthening engagement between direct managers and psychologically injured workers improves return to work outcomes. With this knowledge, Connect & Care was collaboratively developed with icare, QBE and DCJ to strengthen leader-injured worker relationships in government agencies exposed to complex trauma.

Connect & Care includes experiential education interventions based on adult learning principles, a research supported best practice checklist and an easily adaptable implementation template. The robust co-designed program helps leaders and managers provide support to workers experiencing a complex injury.

Harnessing the expert knowledge of high injury risk NSW Government agencies, icare client engagement managers, icare and QBE workers compensation claims specialists, and educational design specialists, the program received positive results across pilots at DCJ and NSW Department of Health. These include NPS scores of +86, +89 and two +100s.

As the data bank grows, it’s showing that managers who have completed Connect & Care find the program to be highly valuable, and are taking real ownership to ensure success through the co-design process by deploying the learnt skills and process into their day-to-day working activities. Workers who suffered a workplace injury have reported feeling much more supported by their workplace since the completion of the program. The organisations involved are experiencing a reduction in complex workplace injury claims, better return to work rates, and increased productivity and positive workplace engagement. The program has seen improvements in injury incidence rates, improved RTW rates and reductions in overall claims costs.


Maddi Bailes is an insurance engagement leader who opens the line of communication between clients, customers, and businesses to solve problems. With over 15 years in both public and private sectors, Maddi has experience in personal injury litigation working with both injured workers and employers, executive relationship management, stakeholder collaboration, program design and strategic implementation. Maddi holds a Bachelor of Law and is completing a Bachelor of Art majoring in public relations.

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