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6.6 How to determine if a psychosocial activity is reasonable

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Last amended 
13 December 2016

The 10 criteria outlined in the table below are to guide the assessment of whether a psychosocial rehabilitation intervention is reasonable for a client to undertake. The criteria are based on the legislative provisions in the MRCA and SRCA and DVA’s whole-of-person policy approach to rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation service providers are required to assess the activities or services that they recommend for a client against each of the criteria.  An activity or intervention may meet some criteria to a greater or lesser extent and may not meet some criteria at all. If an activity does not meet all the criteria, providers need to explain why they are recommending the intervention.

The most important consideration is to weigh up the pros and cons and choose an activity which best meets the needs of the individual client and helps them to achieve their rehabilitation goal. For example, a particular activity may be considered adventurous by community standards or contain a degree of risk to a person’s personal safety, but the client’s previous activities and life experience may mean this is reasonable in terms of providing meaningful engagement, and an opportunity to make social connections with people who have similar interests.

DVA is responsible for any injuries incurred as a result of participation in approved rehabilitation activities. This means that rehabilitation providers and DVA Rehabilitation Coordinators are expected to take a sensible and flexible risk management approach when assessing and determining whether it is reasonable for a client to participate in a specific psychosocial activity. Where it is appropriate to do so, rehabilitation providers are expected to investigate what risk mitigation measures have been put in place by the organisation running the activity that they are recommending.

Consistent with the case studies provided in section 6.6.1 and 6.6.4 of this library, rock climbing, kayaking and other similar activities may be regarded as reasonable where they are assessed as being appropriate for a specific individual and there is evidence that risk management measures as in place. However, activities such as parachuting, hang gliding, deep sea diving, or motor racing are likely to carry a much higher risk of a client's personal safety being compromised. As it is likely that rehabilitation goals can still be met through participating in lower risk activities, where clients are proposing these types of activities, alternative options should be negotiated.

As a general principle, DVA is not responsible for meeting any costs of travel associated with attending psychosocial rehabilitation activities. The principle behind this is that becoming independent in organising and paying for travel to get to activities is part of learning to self-manage after a service injury or disease. However, if the client needs to travel a long distance to attend an activity, there are clear reasons why this particular activity is highly recommended and travel costs are likely to be prohibitive, then delegates are encouraged to contact rehabilitation@dva.gov.au for policy advice.

 

Criterion: Is the intervention?Legislative provisions - Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004, Section 51(2)Legislative provisions - Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, 1988 Section 37(3)
This table outlines a framework for determining whether an activity is reasonable

1. Likely to achieve progress towards an agreed rehabilitation goal in the client’s rehabilitation assessment and/or plan?

(a) any written report in respect of the person under subsection 46(3);

(a) any written assessment given under subsection 36(8);

2. Likely to be effective?

The recommended activity or service is shown to be effective, reasonable, best-practice and/or evidence-based. Rehabilitation providers need to use their professional expertise to explain why a certain intervention is likely to be effective.

(a) any written report in respect of the person under subsection 46(3); and

(b) any reduction in the future liability of the Commonwealth to pay or provide compensation if the program is undertaken;

(a) any written assessment given under subsection 36(8); and

(b) any reduction in the future liability to pay compensation if the program is undertaken;

3. Appropriate for the client given their medical restrictions, both physical and psychological?

(a) any written report in respect of the person under subsection 46(3);

(a) any written assessment given under subsection 36(8);

4. Unlikely to compromise the client’s personal safety, including their psychological safety?

(a) any written report in respect of the person under subsection 46(3);

(a) any written assessment given under subsection 36(8);

5. Likely to improve (or at least not impair) the client’s ability to function independently, including returning to work if feasible?

(a) any written report in respect of the person under subsection 46(3); and

(d) any improvement in the person's opportunity to be engaged in work after completing the program;

(a) any written assessment given under subsection 36(8); and

(d) any improvement in the employee's opportunity to be employed after completing the program;

6. Time-limited rather than a long-term or ongoing activity?

(c) the cost of the program;

(c) the cost of the program;

7. Cost-effective in relation to other equally effective interventions or arrangements?

c) the cost of the program;

(f) the relative merits of any alternative and appropriate rehabilitation program;

(c) the cost of the program;

(g) the relative merits of any alternative and appropriate rehabilitation program

8. In line with community standards and expectations?

(f) the relative merits of any alternative and appropriate rehabilitation program;

(g) the relative merits of any alternative and appropriate rehabilitation program;

9. In line with the client’s preferences?

(e) the person's attitude to the program; 

(e) the likely psychological effect on the employee of not providing the program;

(f) the employee's attitude to the program;

10. Reasonable after considering any other relevant matters?

(This could be information about the client from their work or medical history, or from discussions with the client about their ambitions, interests or family. It could also be their geographical location, or anything else which could impact on the appropriateness of the intervention.)

(g) any other matter the rehabilitation authority considers relevant.

(h) any other relevant matter.