As national rehabilitation manager, Joanne Graves takes pride in offering claimants a rehabilitation program at the right time in their recovery journey, assisting their return to health, wealth, and life.
With AIA’s Principles of Best Practice in Occupational Rehabilitation as the foundation of her rehabilitation offering, Graves and her team have helped over 220 people back to work and life over the last year through the delivery of tailor-made rehabilitation programs offered Australia-wide.
“We recognise people just don’t wake up one day after a significant injury or illness that they need to go back to work. Often, they need a period of wellness and work readiness assistance, especially in the area of mental health,” Graves said.
With this goal in mind, Graves and her team at AIA designed a holistic wellness and work readiness program called RESTORE to assist claimants experiencing anxiety and depression. This project began in 2012, with the firm conducting a pilot in 2013 before commencing the program. According to Graves’ nomination, her commitment to excellence has seen the Health Benefits of Good Work incorporated into the firm’s integrated claims and rehabilitation model.
“By taking a partnership approach with our key employers, funds and intermediaries, Joanne and AIA Rehabilitation have successfully implemented true early intervention programs assisting claimants’ return to work in the waiting period, preventing the development of secondary conditions and ensuring connection with employers and the community,” the submission said.
Graves and her team also worked with Sunsuper to design TPD Assist, which incorporated rehabilitation into a total and permanent disability (TPD) product.
“We worked very closely with our partner Sunsuper and they had a vision in mind. They wanted to be able to assist their members with sustained injury or illness within their TPD products to actually design some research,” Graves said, adding the fund contacted people who had received TPD payments.
“They really wanted to understand what they wanted and a high proportion really wanted assistance with return-to-work or job-seeking.”
When members contact Sunsuper following an injury, Graves and her team are able to offer early intervention rehabilitation programs.
The judges showered praise upon Graves for her contribution to the industry in the area of mental health, having previously been involved in the development of SuperFriend’s Taking Action framework for the best practice approach to mental health claims, and now as AIA’s representative on the Financial Services Council’s working group on mental health.
Judges were also impressed with finalist, Olivia Sarah Le Lacheur, for her role in supporting dairy farmers when milk prices dropped, and her role as the current AFA Foundation chair.