Development and Pilot Assessment of the PACE Tool: Helping Case Managers Identify and Respond to Risk Factors in Workers’ Compensation Case Management

Ross Iles, Luke Sheehan, Karen Munk, Cameron Gosling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose The aim was to develop a tool to be applied by workers’ compensation case managers to guide intervention and avoid delayed return to work. Methods The Plan of Action for a CasE (PACE) tool was developed based on a review of existing literature, focus groups with case managers and analysis of existing claims data. Combined with analysis of existing case manager practice, these sources were used to determine key constructs for inclusion in the tool to be aligned with the demands of case manager workload. Mapping of existing interventions was used to match risk identified by the tool with appropriate intervention. Results The final PACE tool consisted of 41 questions divided into Ready (worker), Set (employer) and Go (treating practitioner) categories. Questions in the tool were linked to appropriate case manager actions. Data collection was completed by case managers for 524 claims within the first 2 weeks of the claim being accepted. The most commonly identified risks for delayed RTW included both worker and employer expectations of RTW, as well as certification of capacity. Factor analysis identified two factors operating across the tool categories. Case managers reported benefits in using the tool, but reported it also increased their workload. Conclusions The PACE tool is a unique example of the implementation of risk identification in case management practice. It demonstrates that case managers are ideally placed to collect information to identify risk of delayed RTW. Future work will establish the impact of case-manager led intervention based on identified risks on outcomes for injured workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-182
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Case management
  • Return to work
  • Workers’ compensation

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