Odyssey Health Services: A Unique Approach

Odyssey Health Services combines Medical Science and Behavioural Science to effectively and efficiently treat mental health and chronic physical conditions.  When not treated appropriately, the result can be that individuals suffer from significantly restricted or impaired lives. In the workplace, this can mean reduced productivity, protracted work accommodation or modification, higher than normal levels of absenteeism or prolonged time off work on either sick or disability benefits.

It has been established that non-medical (behavioural and psychological) factors are the primary determinants of significant absence from work.  It is common with these syndromes that psychosocial stressors play a role in the degree to which the patient becomes dysfunctional (see ACOEM document). Factors such as: issues in the workplace (that may include a mismatch between the patient and their job, undesired or unpleasant changes in the workplace, or general job dissatisfaction); family or marital difficulties; financial or other stressors, may play a role in impairing the patient’s ability to cope with what might otherwise be far less troublesome symptoms.

Research tells us that being at work contributes to a person’s recovery from illness and injury; that employment is a significant social determinant of physical and mental health; and that prolonged time off work decreases chances of a successful return to work.

Services include psychological assessment, independent psychological evaluations, comprehensive psychological assessment and treatment and interdisciplinary assessment and treatment.  For the most complex cases, treatment is provided in the patient’s home.  In other cases treatment is initiated in the patient’s home and then shifts to office based counselling.

WHAT WE DO

Odyssey Health Services assesses and treats mental health conditions such as mood and anxiety disorders, and physical complaints such as back pain, headache, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other complex or difficult to manage conditions.

For many of these difficulties, medical management, including medication offers only limited relief.  Studies have shown that even when symptoms of pain, fatigue, depression and anxiety are reduced, this alone does not return disabled individuals to their normal functioning.

From both a social and an economic perspective, long term disability prevention and associated management strategies for assisting employees and companies are successful only if they address the non-medical, psychosocial factors that have been proven to contribute to frequent and prolonged absences from the workplace.

We are NOT suggesting that an outside influence such as job dissatisfaction is the sole or primary cause of symptoms. Rather recognizing that such outside psychosocial factors may result in a patient with otherwise good coping skills, who would manage this period of symptoms without significant dysfunction, decompensating and experiencing much more difficulty.

THERAPY DETAILS

Odyssey Health Services works in a true partnership with the patient, the employer, the insurer, the patient’s health care providers and other stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcomes.

This process can include: behavioural activation, addressing psychosocial factors contributing to the disruption of attendance at work, planning for a graduated return to work, job search if the incumbent’s position is no longer available, or upgrading of skills or credentials in order to return to work.

Odyssey Health Services also supports employees once they have returned to work to mitigate the risk of relapse.

Odyssey Health Services’ team includes rehabilitation psychologists, cognitive behavioural therapists, kinesiologists, psychotherapists, and medical professionals who are experienced in both their own area of specialty and in dealing with chronic absenteeism and disability.

Odyssey Health Services’ evidence based approach has resulted in over 35 years of outcomes that are consistent with, or superior to, those demonstrated in the general scientific literature.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with graded exercise is the only intervention with scientifically demonstrated effectiveness for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and has proven to be effective for Fibromyalgia and chronic headache and pain.

When used to treat depression and anxiety, CBT produces results similar to medication in mild to moderate cases, enhances the effectiveness of medication in more severe cases, and helps prevent relapse.