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Odyssey Interdisciplinary Health Services

Odyssey Interdisciplinary Health Services is an extended, intensive interdisciplinary assessment and treatment service targeted at the most chronic and/or complex situations. Individuals appropriate for this service are almost invariably out of the workplace and in receipt of disability benefits – most commonly having been so for more than two years and, in some cases, as long as 10 to 15 years. This service includes the expertise of both medicine and behavioural science to address the medical and non-medical factors that contribute to the prolonged work absence.

While no one would argue against the value of early intervention, it is important to recognize that individuals who have been off work for an extended period of time should not necessarily be viewed as hopeless cases to be treated by insurers as “maintenance files” or by health care providers as beyond help. In fact, perpetuating the myth of the situation being intractable will quite predictably result in learned helplessness on everyone’s part and serve to potentiate the very problem in a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. There is no time clock resulting in the expiration of a possible recovery of function.

Odyssey Interdisciplinary Health Services focus upon individuals with complex and lengthy clinical problems that have significantly impaired their function. This service provides effective disease and disability management for patients/employees, health-care providers, employers and insurers. The goal in all cases is for the patient/employee to return to a meaningful life, with an optimal level of function including, when appropriate, a return to employment in a timely manner.

Our health-care professionals are drawn from a variety of disciplines. They all have significant expertise and experience in working as a truly effective team integrating different perspectives to develop comprehensive diagnostic formulations and, if appropriate, treatment plans for our patients.

Assessment is comprised of a full interdisciplinary evaluation incorporating both medical and behavioural sciences and involving at a minimum our core interdisciplinary team of internal medicine and/or psychiatry and psychology. Assessment of such cases results in the development of a clear, interdisciplinary diagnostic formulation.

Treatment may include: ensuring optimal medical management of underlying disease and pathology; optimization of medications to maximize benefit while minimizing untoward side-effects; and implementing evidence-based treatment that combines cognitive behavioural techniques with progressive mobilization and activation, usually conducted in the patient’s own environment.

These services are both collaborative and supportive. They recognize that individualized solutions are necessary and that there is no “fits all” solution. The efforts of the insurer, employer and the individual’s treating health care providers are coordinated with a focus on return to a level of function that leads to a return to work. Return to work is viewed by all as not only possible but probable and certainly preferable.

Our outcome data demonstrates a success rate of between 65% and 75% even for this very demanding population, once again consistent with, or superior to, outcomes demonstrated in the general scientific literature.  This unique and highly successful model of treatment utilized by Odyssey Health Services is described in a study published in The American Journal of Medicine, in September 1998.