Category Archives: Medical Care

Violence Research By UW

“In May, the State of Washington awarded $1 million to the UW School of Medicine for the formation of the Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program. The program seeks to answer urgent questions involving firearm risks, injuries, policies and programs in Washington state.” – UW Medicine

Violence research by UW Medicine researchers provides findings that support the contention of ongoing impacts to physical and mental health subsequent to experiencing violence. Workplace violence is increasingly prevalent, with immediate and long-lasting consequences for the victims of this violence.

The lasting effects of workplace violence can require ongoing medical and psychiatric care, can impede the victim’s ability to return to work and, in some cases, can result in permanent impairments. In my experience, the mental health impacts can be the most insidious and difficult to overcome. The difficulties are compounded if an injured worker encounters pushback from the Department of Labor and Industries, sometimes in the form of treatment denials, other times through not recognizing the difficulty in returning to work or not acknowledging the presence of permanent impairment.

UW Medicine recently released the news of the completion and presentation of the researcher’s findings. Violence research findings that span every age and a variety of circumstances, but findings that can be applied to workplace violence cases, as well. The full text of the UW Medicine release can be read here, and is excerpted, below:

Violence has complex, far-reaching impacts on health

A new paper by UW Medicine researchers offers a broad, updated look at the interrelated impacts of violence on physical and mental health across age groups, from infants to elderly people.

The authors compiled recent compelling findings about health effects of child abuse, bullying, youth violence, adult interpersonal violence, and elder abuse, among others.  The paper was published Oct. 7 in Health Affairs. Its authors represent the Firearm Injury & Policy Research Program, based at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center.

“Violence has important consequences for physical and mental health. These consequences vary with the type of violence and age, but all of them can be severe, debilitating and lifelong,” said Dr. Fred Rivara, the paper’s lead author. He is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.

“The findings of our review point out the need to both treat the victims of violence and prevent these types of violence from occurring in the first place,” Rivara said.

By organizing their findings by age group, the authors highlighted the cumulative, interrelated harms of violence across the lifespan. For example, research has found that victims of child abuse have an elevated risk of depression, suicidality, drug use, and certain chronic illnesses later in life. Because of that risk, they are also more likely to later experience intimate partner violence, which in turn heightens risk of depression, anxiety, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain, and other health issues.

An overview of many types of violence also helps broaden research and policy perspectives beyond the immediate physical trauma, and draws attention to long-term health impacts. These harms affect not only individuals, but also indirectly traumatize family, friends, and communities.

Badly Burned on the Job? New Center of Excellence at Harborview Hospital in Seattle, WA

Burns are among the most painful on-the-job injuries. Each year, hundreds of workers in Washington are burned on the job so severely that they require specialized medical care. The care and support these injured workers receive are key to their recovery and return to work.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and Harborview Medical Center opened a new Center of Excellence for medical care for burns in August, 2017. The agreement expanded workers’ access to a range of specialists who collaborate throughout the worker’s recovery.

“Getting the right care at the right time is crucial for these catastrophically injured workers,” said Joel Sacks, director of L&I. “We hope to make their recovery better and a little easier by improving access to specialists.”

“The new Center of Excellence for Burns will help us streamline multi-disciplinary care to Washington’s workers who sustain devastating burns,” said Dr. Nicole Gibran, director of the Regional Burn Center at Harborview Medical Center, part of University of Washington (UW) Medicine. “By coordinating care with providers who understand burn injuries, we facilitate physical and psychological recovery.”

National data has shown that nearly 50 percent of adult burn patients do not return to work two years after injury and 28 percent never return to work. In contrast, a recent study in the Journal of Burn Care & Research showed that 93 percent of workers with work-related burns who were treated at the UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview returned to work on average 24 days after injury. The research attributes these dramatically improved outcomes to the broad support the worker receives from employers and workers’ compensation claims staff, and to the specialized and comprehensive burn care at Harborview.

To streamline care for burned workers insured by L&I, a group of highly-trained staff from the agency manages catastrophic claims. They will coordinate closely with UW Medicine and with staff wherever workers continue treatment.

The new center is part of an L&I project  to improve care for catastrophically injured workers. This is the second center of excellence; the first, for amputations, was established in early 2016.

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