PFA Earlycare

We help your employees return to work quickly

It is no longer enough to take action once the damage has been done. Together with health experts and you, we will focus on early intervention and a holistic approach. This increases productivity and is less costly, which benefits your employees, your company and society.

 

Early intervention

We focus on early intervention. Early intervention in connection with illness and stress helps to avoid long-term sickness absence. Therefore, we must react already when the first signs appear and together offer help as soon as possible.

Holistic approach

A holistic approach promotes health. By focusing on the person as a whole and taking a holistic approach to health, meaning that physical as well as mental well-being and the overall lifestyle are at the centre, we provide the framework for a thorough course of treatment - for everyone's benefit.

A common responsibility

Together, we take responsibility. Through close cooperation with your company, leading specialists and health experts from PFA, we make a "pact" to take joint responsibility for the individual employee.

PFA takes stress seriously

Stress is one of the biggest offenders in relation to your employees' well-being, health and performance. Studies show that today 15 % of the total workforce feels stressed*. We know that 28 % of mental reasons for reduced occupational capacity are stress-related**. Mental disorders, and especially stress, often result in long-term sickness absence and can be a costly affair for you as an employer.

It has been proven that mental health problems can be reduced by focusing on the employee’s health through early intervention. Based on our extensive health knowledge, we know the importance of being actively involved all the way from the preventive steps, through the first signs of illness and sickness absence and to the employee returns to work again. We take stress seriously, and, therefore, PFA has introduced the insurance plan PFA EarlyCare® and developed a programme focused on dealing with and preventing stress.

*Source: Nationalt Forskningscenter for Arbejdsmiljø, "Arbejdsmiljø og Helbred 2014"
**Source: PFA, number of cases that was awarded PFA Occupational Capacity during 2016

Targeted stress prevention – that makes a difference

Managers play a key role when it comes to dealing with challenges related to stress at work. But it requires the right knowledge and tools to deal with and prevent stress. Therefore, we have developed a course focused on dealing with and preventing stress in cooperation with business psychologist Marie Kingston, co-author of the Danish management book of the year in 2016 “Stop stress – en håndbog for ledere” (Stop stress – a handbook for managers). The course can be offered to a single company and as one day-courses for manager from small and medium-sized companies.


Want to hear more about dealing with and preventing stress?

PFA EarlyCare®

By launching PFA EarlyCare®, we have taken an important first step towards addressing the increasing problem with stress and long-term sickness absence. PFA EarlyCare® focuses on early intervention at the first signs of an employee not thriving to ensure that the situation does not turn into long-term sickness absence.

PFA EarlyCare® offers the employees the opportunity to call our EarlyCare® Hotline at (+45) 70 80 75 05 and talk to a PFA Health Guide. Here, the employees can, already from day one of a 2-week or more notification of illness, get help with clarifying their state of health and be guided through a course of treatment that is customised to their specific needs.

We have decided to offer PFA EarlyCare® as part of PFA Occupational Capacity. If PFA Occupational Capacity is already part of your insurance agreement, your employees now have access to the advantages offered by PFA EarlyCare®.

Four myths about stress

PFA’s two experts in stress in individuals: Lars Aakerlund, psychiatrist and consultant doctor, and Helle Folden Dybdahl, chief psychologist, both from PPclinic, have particular focus on four myths that it is necessary to address if we want to beat stress. Read more about the myths here and see if you have also fallen for them.

 

Myth #1: Stress requires peace and quiet

A broken arm needs peace and quiet in order to heal. So that must also be the case when we break mentally, right? Many believe that stress should be cured in the same manner as physical injuries, but this is a myth we need to break away from in order to treat the disease.

“Of course, there may be a need for a quiet period until the acute stress symptoms have diminished. The problem is that we often prolong this period more than necessary, which means that we shut down mentally instead of recharging. Too long a period of inactivity may impair both our ability to work and our self-esteem,” Lars Aakerlund, psychiatrist at PPclinic, explains.

In contrast, he recommends that we as employers and employees are a bit more impatient and faster at helping each other make a plan for how to move forward.

“Stress can be caused by many things, but, when it comes to work-related stress, it is important that you as employer do not just cross your fingers and hope that the system, such as the employee’s doctor, union and local authority, finds a solution. Instead, you need to take care of your employees and show them that you appreciate them and help them make a plan of action. For example, together with a psychologist or another impartial expert who can help identify the underlying causes and offer recommendations for the employee's return to work," Lars Aakerlund says.


Myth #2: Robust people do not suffer from stress

Recently, this statement has gained a footing in Danish workplaces. But very few people are immune to stress. At worst, this belief may give us a false sense of security and mean that we do not address the conditions that may turn out to be unhealthy for the employees in the long run.

“Except for psychopaths and people with a particular metabolic disorder, no one is immune to stress. And that is a good thing, because stress is a natural part of our mental preparedness, which, in some situations, boosts our performance and, in other situations, functions as a warning sign of threats that we need to avoid. Therefore, it is important not to see robustness as the new cure against stress, because rather than eliminating stress, we need to dose it right”, stress expert Helle Folden Hansen explains.

She further explains that robust people may need just as much help as everyone else as they otherwise risk being on their last mental legs for too long.

“In order to avoid job dissatisfaction and notifications of illness, it is an advantage to be good at listening to yourself and know your boundaries. For this particular reason, we often see that when things go wrong for these so-called robust employees, it may be more difficult for them to get back on track because they have ignored stress signals and forgotten to listen to themselves for way too long. As employers, colleagues and partners, it is therefore important that we do not believe that superhumans who can handle everything actually exist.”


Myth #3: Stress is an illness just like the flu

When we see a doctor, we expect to get exact information on our state of health. Because when we know the diagnosis, the treatment is often straight forward. However, this is not the case with a stress diagnosis. Stress is not an illness, but a reaction to straining life circumstances, which can be anything from grief, relationship problems and bad sleep to too much work and too little exercise.

“We need to stop considering stress an illness, because it is not. Stress is a reaction to straining life circumstances and can be caused by a long range of factors - from grief, relationship problems and bad sleep to too much work and too little exercise. Therefore, in order to treat stress, we must take a curious and holistic look at all these causes. We must also be aware that people may diagnose themselves with stress when they may actually suffer from depression or another mental disorder. This may result in the wrong treatment, which can be costly for society as well as the employee,” Lars Aakerlund, psychiatrist at PPclinic, warns.

He adds that a stress diagnosis unfortunately is more likely to end a conversation than start one. The result is often the standard advice of peace and quiet that we are comfortable with giving but that is rarely the best solution.

“In the situation, it may be comfortable and reassuring to be told to pull the plug and allow yourself some peace and quiet, but that does not shed any light on the actual causes. On the contrary, we may end up making our own explanations that are unfounded and that may isolate us and make it even more difficult to get back on track," the stress expert explains.


Myth #4: We must avoid stress at all costs

When browsing through the newspaper headlines about stress, it is easy to get frightened because most of us experience periods where things are moving fast. But there is no need to fear stress in short periods of time as small doses may actually have a positive effect on our performance.

“Stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol play an important role as they can boost our physical and mental capabilities to allow us to maximise our performance in special situations. This was important when we had to outrun a lion on the savanna, and, today, it may help us perform at an exam or make a deadline at work.

Even though stress may be harmful over a longer period of time, we must also appreciate that, in the short-term, stress may be an advantage that can help us achieve results that we otherwise would not have been able to”, Helle Folden Dybdahl, chief psychologist at PPclinic, explains.

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