Over the years, we've assisted with hundreds of widely varied cases, but these success stories really stayed with us! Helping individuals fit into the places where they work and paving a smooth path to positive outcomes for employers and businesses is what we do, and we love it!
Success Story - Short Term Disability
My Experience with Bridges Health (formerly IRC).
I would like to start off with a little history.
I had been off work for the better part of six years due to illness. A year ago, I decided my best option for getting back to work, now that I was better, would be working from home. So after trying the self-employment route for almost a year, I discovered it just didn’t pay the bills and I was falling further and further behind.
I was referred to Bridges Health due to being unsuccessful finding appropriate employment outside my home.
I will never forget the day I walked into their office, I was scared I will admit, not sure of what was to come. I was greeted with a smile and professionalism, and I soon felt less anxious. I sat with the worker for the better part of two hours talking about myself, my history, why I was referred, how they could help me and if I was honestly ready to join the outside workforce again. The more I talked and the more I listened, I felt my self-confidence building. I presented my resume and cover letter and to my surprise, it was one of the best of they had seen. We made a plan, set goals and by the time our session was over, I was sad it was over, but on the other hand I felt so much better about myself, and actually felt like I could fit back in to the workforce. For the first time in years, I actually felt I had something to really look forward to.
We met weekly, discussing different jobs that were available, my worker applying for them on my behalf, and going through mock interviews. I think the mock interviews were the hardest part of all. Trying to sell my skills and attributes when self-esteem was not abundant was quite hard. My worker made me feel more and more confident though and after only a few weeks I was faced with an actual interview.
I had spent the next three nights studying the interview questions and even eliciting the help of friends to interview me. I showed up at my interview, prepared and ready to face it, ready to sell my skills, when all of a sudden I felt so intimidated that I just wanted to cry. I tried my best to remember everything I learned from my worker, going through the mock interviews in my head, but I just could not shake how intimidated I felt. I got through the interview, answered their questions, asked mine and honestly, I just wanted out of there as fast as possible.
I contacted my worker as soon as I was done and we met the following week to discuss what happened in detail. Although I felt down and was losing my focus, my main goal, my worker reminded me of something very important. There is a reason why that interview didn’t go well, why I felt intimidated and that’s because it was not a good place for me to work. It was a good learning experience, getting that first one out of the way, and to know what was to come with the next one. I left the office feeling great again and my confidence was restored.
The following week, I received a call about another interview. I was so excited, because this job was the one I had dreamt about while I was taking my course for my new career two years previously. I called my worker right away and we arranged two more mock interviews and by the time I was done, I had confidence that I didn’t know existed in myself.
The day of this interview, I was on top of the world, nothing was going to stop me. I had it all mapped out in my head how I was going to go in there with my head held high, and tell them exactly what it was I could do for them that no one else could. The interview lasted about 30 minutes. It was the best interview I have ever had in my life. I was so confident when I left the interview that I called my worker and my exact words were “I nailed it”!!!
The following week, I received a call and was offered the job, fulltime, temporary for maternity leave, and with full benefits. I called my worker again, and we set up another meeting. We discussed how this interview was different than the first one, how I knew in my heart that I would be offered the position and when my start date was. Never once did my worker think I couldn’t do it, and my worker had more faith in my professionalism, personality, skills and abilities than I did. The following week, we headed out shopping for new business casual work clothes as I had none.
I don’t believe I could have done this on my own. Sure, I could have landed a low paying job in an unhealthy environment, been unhappy, sick again and back at square one.
I have told my friends and family about Bridges Health and have recommended Bridges Health to them to help find their career, show them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, to help them rebuild their confidence and most importantly, show them, they too have self-worth and the ability to follow their dreams with Bridges Health’s help. I have built an important friendship with my worker and I would not be where I am today without my workers help, understanding, confidence and hard work.
To end this, I would like to say, after two weeks of being at my new job, being happy, productive, fitting in, and feeling like I can accomplish anything that is put in front of me, I was offered a fulltime permanent position.
Thank you to my government Voc Rehab worker for referring me to Bridges Health, and thank you to my Bridges Health worker, without you, I could have never done this. I look forward to the years ahead in my new career and our friendship.
Success Story - Workers' Compensation Injury
A young worker had been working on the job site and fell 8 feet off a scaffold onto concrete during his morning shift. He was transported to the hospital by ambulance and Bridges Health was notified by the employer shortly after the incident.
Bridges Health discovered that the fall did not result in any broken bones or internal injuries. The employee said that the doctor took him off work for six weeks and to visit his family doctor at the 5 week mark to see about a return to work. No other form of follow up or intervention was mentioned.
We managed these details with the employee. We discussed the employer accommodations for injuries, arranged a physiotherapist for a full physical and biomechanical assessment, and provided more information regarding his musculoskeletal injuries and what to expect during various stages of his recovery.
After an initial assessment, the Physiotherapist (certified in IRC's MAP and Health Services Program) outlined work tasks the employee could safely perform and began a treatment program. The employee returned to his employer that day and was fully accommodated in a sedentary capacity completing office duties.
Throughout treatment, Bridges Health was in constant communication with all parties. At the 4 week mark, the employee returned to light work duties and gradually increased his duties over another four week period. He resumed full duties and all his leisure activities 8 weeks after the incident.
Without IRC’s intervention this individual was not even going to be seen by his doctor for five weeks and would have had no therapy or education to assist him through his recovery. His employer would have had a minimum 6-10 week time loss claim.
This situation was a win-win for all parties involved. In our experience, an individual who is given no parameters or treatment with regards to soft tissue injury recovery ends up with a much longer recovery process and often is left with lingering pain for an extended period of time, sometimes for life. The employer avoided a costly time loss claim and the employee appreciated being able to work through the treatment.
Success Story - Mental Health
Bridges Health assisted an employee of 10 years who, except for the first year of employment, averaged approximately 10 absent days per year (higher than average). Management at the employee's company identified many performance issues and discuss them with the employee but felt overall that the employee had good intentions and was an asset to the company.
The employee has some minor physical health issues which did not preclude the manager from continued performance management related to the absences. The manager proceeded with progressive discipline. The employee goes off work for two weeks and returns. The manager returned the employee to work in a usual rotation but in an area the manager knows the employee dislikes. The employee sees her doctor and goes off work again.
At this point, the employee was referred to Bridges for assistance. Through a personal interview, we identified the individual is a single parent and although there is joint custody there are constant custody battles which the employee comments about in the workplace from time to time.
Bridges determined the employee had suffered from mental health issues in excess of 20 years and has never told anyone. The employee was under the care of her physician who in turn had referred the employee to a psychiatrist. Over the years, the psychiatrist had been adjusting medications with reasonable success; however, the employee continued to experience periodic setbacks at various times throughout each year resulting in the employee exhausting sick leave benefits each year.
The psychiatrist and physician never personally communicated directly only through brief written updates. The employee also exhausted the FAP opportunity/funding each year; however, the FAP counselor was not qualified to deal with this level of mental health issues.
Bridges coordinated the care requirements for this employee communicating with all stakeholders. Bridges consulted a highly respected PhD psychologist who worked with the physician, psychiatrist and Bridges. Bridges arranged for a case conference between the three professionals and Bridges case manager. Factors previously unknown to all parties were discovered which enabled the care providers to provide appropriate care and adjust medications.
Six weeks after Bridges' intervention, the employee began a gradual return to work and after additional six weeks the employee returned to full-time employment. After two years of follow-up the employee takes less than eight days sick leave per year. The department manager cannot believe the positive change in the employee as a result of Bridges' intervention. The employee has extremely grateful for Bridges' intervention and made comments that she wished she knew of the service 20 years prior.