Content » Vol 51, Issue 2

Original report

System complexities affecting recovery after a minor transport-related injury: The need for a person-centred approach

Stella Samoborec, Darshini Ayton, Rasa Ruseckaite, Gary Winbolt, Sue M. Evans
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 3004 Melbourne, Australia. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2500


Objective: To understand clients’ experiences of the recovery journey through the compensation system and to identify areas and strategies for quality improvement.
Methods: A qualitative study of 23 participants with physical or mental disabilities caused by traffic accidents, which occurred, on average, 4 years ago. Purposive sampling of long-term recovery clients who made a compensation claim after their injuries was applied until data saturation was reached. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed through conventional thematic analysis.
Results: This study demonstrated that recovery is a complex phenomenon that can be impacted by numerous challenges of navigating the compensation system and using its services. Clients perceived the compensation provider as limited in rules around which services they could access. A common perception amongst clients was that the compensation provider did not have the capacity and knowledge to understand health and recovery processes nor did it provide adequate guidelines or instructions that would assist clients with their recovery. Many clients dealt with numerous case managers and felt insufficiently informed on what to expect and do, which led to a lack of trust in rehabilitation management and case managers’ decisions. According to clients, financial impacts were neglected and not addressed effectively. Many clients felt abandoned by the system which led to perceived feelings of desertion and negligence.
Conclusion: Understanding modifiable barriers to recovery in compensation systems presents opportunities to amend current practices and consider a holistic, person-centred care approach. It is apparent that improved recovery management, communication and adequate provision of guidelines are needed to meet clients’ needs and facilitate better outcomes. A person-centred care approach is likely to improve quality of life and help clients navigate the compensation system more effectively with assistance from health and compensation professionals, who should be actively involved in their recovery processes.

Lay Abstract

Injuries from transport accidents are heterogeneous and recovery processes complex and challenging for patients, regardless of the severity of injury sustained. Multiple factors influence the recovery trajectory, including pain, poor pre-accident health state, psychological comorbidities, socioeconomic disadvantage and, in some instances, financial compensation. In particular, the results on the effect of financial compensation on health outcomes following musculoskeletal injury remain controversial, indicating that further research is needed to understand the possible barriers and complexities involved in compensation processes and service delivery. This qualitative study investigated compensation-related barriers and found that recovery is indeed impacted by numerous challenges in using compensation services after traffic accident. To overcome these issues, it is recommended that a person-centred approach is used as foundation to inform decision-making for interventions aimed at improving recovery outcomes. An improved recovery management, communication and adequate provision of guidelines is needed and highly recommended to meet clients’ needs and facilitate better outcomes.

Supplementary content


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