Good morning everyone. We’re here to launch ACC’s new rehabilitation resource titled “Your Guide to Recovery”. It is particularly pleasing to be involved in this launch, because ‘rehabilitation’ is now literally our middle name. The Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2001 is the legislation that will govern ACC’s work from 1 April next year, however, as today’s launch will attest, ACC has not sat back waiting for the legislation to promote the intent of the Act – Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Compensation.
Today is about rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is a partnership, between a number of players – the injured person, their family, their employer (where there is one), their treatment provider and rehabilitation professionals, their community and ACC, through a personal case manager. Medical, social and vocational rehabilitation is focussed on early assessment and intervention, developing an understanding of the needs of the whole person, and responding to those needs in a timely and appropriate manner. Attitude is important as well, and when someone has had a very serious injury, there needs to be a strong focus on the future, and a return to as many if not all pre-injury activities.
Your Guide to Recovery
This new publication, Your Guide to Recovery, provides a basic self-contained reference pack for seriously injured claimants. It explains the services ACC provides, the way we work together with each claimant to prepare a rehabilitation plan and shows the steps involved in setting and achieving the goal of recovery.
There’s space to write personal notes and appointment times and pockets to slot in other booklets or fact sheets. A section on frequently asked questions is at the back along with a glossary of terms.
Generally, claimants will receive a copy of the Guide from their ACC case manager at their first appointment in the branch. However, it will be made available in other settings, for example at the hospital, if the claimant is there for some time. The earlier the focus is on recovery, the better.
To build on the targeted resources available for claimants, ACC has started work on producing videos for seriously injured claimants and their families/caregivers. The videos will provide a realistic picture of how everyone’s lives are affected following serious injury and the issues to consider for the future. The videos are due to be completed in February/March 2002.
I remember when I was the Opposition Spokesperson on ACC, I met a number of New Zealanders who had become tetraplegic as a result of serious injury. One of the parents suggested I read a book, which I did, called ‘A Different Kind of Life’, which was written by Virginia Williams the wife of Frank Williams, of British motor racing fame, who was seriously injured in a car crash. Although there is nothing that substitutes for the experience of serious injury by the injured person and their family, I felt that I gained a real insight into the effects of serious injury by reading this book. It has left me absolutely committed to ‘whole life’ rehabilitation – treatment, social and vocational as they all go hand-in-hand.
I have been fortunate not to require the services of ACC, but I am confident that for those who do, the focus on rehabilitation will make a real difference, even where it means an acknowledgement that it will be a different kind of life.
I thank you all again for coming today, and celebrating another milestone in the restoration of one of the cornerstone founding principles of the ACC scheme: complete rehabilitation.