Injured workers’ perspectives of their rehabilitation process under the New South Wales Workers Compensation System


  • Lorraine Sager BHSc(OT); Occupational Therapist. Carole James MHSc(OT), BSc(OT), Dip COT; Lecturer.

Carole James, Discipline of Occupational Therapy, Hunter Building, University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan 2308, New South Wales, Australia. Email:


Aim: Occupational injury and the process of rehabilitation can impact significantly on an individual's life. Research on the perspectives of injured workers, and their perceptions of the occupational therapy role, is limited.

Method: A qualitative, phenomenological study explored the experiences of six injured workers, from a large regional area health service, who had undergone occupational rehabilitation within the NSW Workers Compensation System. Data were collected through the use of in-depth, semistructured interviews and were analysed inductively.

Results: Injured workers have a limited knowledge and understanding of the rehabilitation process, feel unsupported throughout the process, have unsatisfying return-to-work duties and often experience negative attitudes from key stakeholders.

Conclusion: The results highlight the opportunity for occupational therapists to increase their role within occupational rehabilitation; however, they need to adopt a more holistic approach to their practice.