How Can I Help?
Support from the department, from colleagues, and from the community is essential.
There are many ways that you can help. Dealing with a severe injury can be overwhelming for the officer and family. In addition to the guidlines above, here are some ideas for friends and coworkers:
- Coordinate meals for the family. It is important to schedule meal assistance, so that the family is not either flooded with meals all at once, or without this support. You can also make sure that there is a variety of meals provided (hint: without this coordination, everyone seems to make lasagna).
- Mark on your calendar to call the officer on a periodic basis (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly), just to chat. Don't assume that someone else is doing it - over time, particularly with very severe injuries that prevent a return to work, an injured officer can become very isolated. It is vitally important to keep that communication going, so that they know that they are not forgotten.
- Provide a break for the spouse and children: something as simple as a gift certificate for a massage, or taking the kids to a special event when the parents are unable to do so can go a long way toward stress relief for the family.
- Organize a barbeque or some sort of event to honor the injured officer - this can be a community-wide event, or something less formal.
- Host a fundraiser to support the officer and family. The recovery period can be a time of significant financial difficulty for the family. Work Comp does not cover your full salary. The spouse's ability to work may also be impacted. Even in the cases where an officer qualifies for the various programs for disabled officers, it can take months or years to get through the paperwork.