Promoting Wellness

The general wellbeing information contained here applies to all police officers and their families.

Be prepared

Families and individuals who are informed about the potential changes to a person’s health and life transitions, such as what you are currently experiencing, are more likely to cope with the pressures that present from having an injured police officer off work.  You are less likely to feel helpless and isolated if you have information to understand what is going on with your loved one, the changes to family dynamics, and the actual injury management process that you will go through with them.

Key facts:  What we know about the links between work, injury and wellness

The evidence in injury management tells us that good communication, cooperation between those involved in the healing process, and establishing common agreed goals between the injured officer, health providers, and police management, is critical in improving recovery and clinical outcomes .  The less time off work the better the quality of life there is for the injured officer.  Understanding this, you can play a key role in the injury management and recovery process.
How can you as a family member promote wellness?

Encourage your loved one to:

Stay Active

One way you can help is to support and encourage your loved one to stay active and participate in their injury management process and recovery.  In short, don't give up!  The aim for all in the family is to not only care for your loved one but work toward returning them to police work as quickly as possible, which we know from research promotes a better prognosis and outcome. 

Continue Usual Activities & Routines

Certainly changes may need to be made when someone is injured or sick and it is important to incorporate these changes into the family lifestyle.  However, evidence shows that a way to help promote wellness during this time is to keep a sense of normality to your current situation.  Making every attempt to continue your usual activities and routines within the limits of the injury will promote better recovery than just resting.

Stay Connected

Another important benefit to promote wellness is to stay connected as a family during this time.  A supportive family from "loved ones" not only helps build your own personal resilience but also that of your police partner.  The same can be said of parents and siblings of police.  Maintaining personal relationships, outside interests and social connections in your own life during this time – and encouraging your loved one to do the same – is a significant protective factor in stressful times.  Not only does working together on staying connected as a family assist in the healing process, it also reduces the risk of damaging the family unit during what can be a very stressful time.
Given that work has been a major part of your officer's life to date, staying connected with key police relationships can also promote healthy relationships for healing.  For example, this could be a work colleague, a police supervisor or their Commander within the NSW Police Force, or an Executive Member or Branch Official of the Police Association of NSW.

There may also be some people that your officer does not wish to stay in contact with during this time.  There may be aspects of the job and hearing about these parts of the job that are to be avoided by your loved one during this recovery time.  Find out who is important to them from work and what type of assistance and news about work your loved one would like to receive.

They may not receive exactly what they want however it’s also worth encouraging your loved one to inform the rehabilitation providers and police coordinators what will help during this time.

 1. Foreman P, Murphy G and Swerissen H. Barriers and facilitators to return to work: A Literature Review. Australian Institute for Primary Care, La Trobe University: Melbourne 2006, Institute for Work and Health. Seven “principles’ for successful return to work. Institute for Work & Health online document 2007  March cited 2007 May 2 : 8 screens. Available from Wardell and Burton 2000.  Occupational health guidelines for the management of low back pain at work: evidence review.  Occupational Medicine, 51, 124-135.)