Better quality rehabilitation comes to injured workers
A brand new state-of-the-art Rand Mutual Care Facility for pensioners and beneficiaries with occupational injuries was today officially opened by Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant in the city of Welkom in the Free State province.
The 120-bed custodial and care facility brings to realisation a long-cherished dream of Rand Mutual Assurance (RMA), a non-profit mutual assurance company founded more than 120 years ago, with the purpose of administering workers’ compensation for mining industry employees injured in the course and scope of their employment.
Commenting on the opening of the Rand Mutual Care Facility, Dr Deodat Kritzinger, General Manager: Medical of RMA, said that the RMA team was proud to see its vision of an own-care facility come to fruition, as this would enable RMA to provide better long-term treatment and care for seriously injured pensioners.
“It is our hope that the new Rand Mutual Care Facility in Welkom, which provides live-in care for RMA’s long-term custodial care pensioners as well as services such as wound care, rehabilitation, prosthetics and pro-active interventions for RMA beneficiaries, will serve as the ideal environment for them to grow and develop,” observed Dr Kritzinger.
The opening event, which was hosted at the Rand Mutual Care Facility, was attended by dignitaries from the Department of Labour, Department of Health, the Office of the Compensation Commissioner, executives representing several leading companies, The Chamber of Mines, organised labour, as well as the Chairman and Board of Directors of RMA. A number of RMA beneficiaries were also in attendance.
Dr Kritzinger expressed satisfaction that this centrally-located facility will provide relevant specialist services and professional care, as well as presenting residents with the opportunity to learn new skills.
“The launch of the Rand Mutual Care Facility is a project that is close to our hearts, as it is the manifestation of RMA’s philosophy of caring, compassionate compensation that goes above and beyond the requirements in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA),” he noted.
“This is against a backdrop of a shortage of affordable and quality custodial care facilities in South Africa. We identified that many RMA pensioners, particularly those who have suffered severe injuries, were in need of quality long-term care and this dedicated facility will cater to their requirements.”
RMA is responsible for administering workers’ compensation for mining industry employees injured in the course and scope of their employment, in terms of COIDA. In 2013, the Labour Ministry granted an extension to RMA’s COIDA licence to expand its service offering to the iron, metal and steel industries, effective from March 2015.
In terms of COIDA, a pensioner is defined as a person who has suffered permanent disablement of more than 30% in the course of their occupation.
According to Patrick Matshidze, Chief Operating Officer of RMA, the company is currently spending a significant amount of money in sourcing rehabilitation services from external service providers.
“With this facility, we hope to not only offer a better quality of service to our pensioners but, by building our own facility, we will save in excess of R14 million a year,” observed Matshidze.
The RMA Care Facility will offer the following services:
- Custodial long-term care for current and future RMA pensioners who are not able to care for themselves;
- Pressure sore management through RMA’s preventative medical intervention programme;
- Pro-active interventions to prevent deteriorating health and complications in pensioners with spinal cord injuries and amputations;
- Prosthetics and orthotics;
- Rehabilitation of injured workers;
- Improvement of not only the physical well-being of injured pensioners, but also addressing mental and social aspects of their condition;
- A holistic programme to improve the lives of the RMA beneficiaries, specifically spinal cord injury and amputee patients;
- Identifying and developing entrepreneurial opportunities for patients through training and development to assist with reintegration into society; and
- Home care training for caregivers.
“At present RMA pensioners are located across southern Africa, but are mainly from Lesotho, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The facility is therefore centrally located in Welkom to allow ease of access from these areas for RMA pensioners,” noted Matshidze.
“Transportation costs for patients will also be substantially reduced, while the facility will offer easy access for families wishing to visit patients. The facility is furthermore in close proximity to several hospitals and day hospitals in the event that additional medical treatment may be required,” he added.
Dr Kritzinger said that RMA started transferring RMA custodial care pensioners to the facility early in March this year and, from the feedback received to date, the residents are well ensconced and comfortable in their new environment.
“I believe that the facility, which offers highly sophisticated, holistic treatment and care, is differentiated by its homely setting and compassionate, caring environment. We trust that it will make a substantial difference, not only in the level of care RMA’s pensioners receive, but also to their overall quality of life. After all, the safety, comfort and care of our residents are of paramount importance to us, ” concluded Dr Kritzinger.