Metlife’s Nourish program is designed to help clients with their recovery after a health set-back and improve their overall wellbeing. Here, Megan Flaherty and Alexandra Russo explain our holistic claims management philosophy and how the ALUCA award-winning program works.

1. Why did Metlife launch the Nourish program?

Megan: Nourish was created at the end of 2017 in partnership with an occupational rehabilitation provider. It was launched because we noticed there was a gap in the provision of rehabilitation services. With most traditional ‘rehabilitation’ programs within insurance, there’s a focus on getting people back to work as the be-all-and-end-all goal.

The idea of Nourish is that work is only one component of a person’s life. We look at things holistically and see what people really need as part of their recovery.

2. What kinds of services are included in Nourish?

Megan: The services vary depending on individual needs but may include self-care and recovery plans, goal setting, functional upgrading plans, psychological education, symptom management education, practical return to work support, and linking in with community services.

It’s very much focused on improving each person’s health outlook as a whole, including lifestyle, function, and physical and mental health. For those who are sadly unlikely to ever improve, Nourish provides practical advice and education to support their situation.

3. How is Nourish different from other rehab offerings?

Alexandra: One thing we’re really proud of is that Nourish provides genuine support. The service is tailored to each individual’s needs and focuses on their goals for a ‘return to health’.

Often when people have a significant illness their treatment is primarily focused on their medical needs, with minimal lifestyle support. We see this a lot, particularly with cancer patients, where it’s primarily about the medical treatment and not much else. The Nourish program can work alongside the treatment plan to help give the best outcome for the individual from a holistic perspective.

Our holistic approach focuses on overall, longer-term wellbeing. Nourish takes into consideration the individual’s situation including how it may be impacted by social or psychological factors. We provide that extra support to help our members return to quality of life, including help to rebuild their confidence, because Nourish is designed to help people feel empowered about their wellbeing.

4. What successes have you seen with Nourish so far?

Megan: The main way we track success is by using the World Health Organisation’s measure of the impact illness has on function and quality of life, known as WHODAS (World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule).

We’re found that more than two-thirds of people who participate in the program experience genuine improvements in their wellbeing and quality of life, as evidenced by the WHODAS scores. Some people can return to work, but for those who don’t it may be due to a new diagnosis or that they haven’t responded well to their treatment and don’t have the ability to improve.

5. How can Metlife members access Nourish services?

Megan: Our tailored services are available to all our income protection clients at claim time.

It’s best if people can give as much detail as possible when they lodge their claim. As every situation is unique, MetLife’s claims assessors seek to understand the individual’s circumstances holistically to develop an appropriate claims experience.

We look at their ability to complete activities of daily living, as well as socialising, regulating emotion, cognitive function and impact of their symptoms. These assessments allow us to really understand their overall situation and treatment plan, so we can work with them to develop a series of goals for their recovery. Those goals might range from returning to work or improving their ability to function in life in general.

6. Is there a time limit on Nourish services?

Megan: No. The length of a Nourish program depends on the individual’s needs. Some people take longer than others – and that’s okay.

7. How wide-ranging are the rehab services offered to help improve members’ wellbeing?

Alexandra: Each person’s recovery programs and other support services are personalised to their needs – it’s about helping the whole person.