Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Single Factor Theory of Return to Work

The single factor that is most problematic in returning an ill or injured worker to productivity is the financial myths that patients carry. They are told that if they get better, they will receive less money. They are told that those who are treating them are only invested in payment for services, not their recovery. They become preoccupied with the financial value of their physical or mental problem. And of all the intimate topics that they will discuss, they characteristically become all-but-mute when it comes to discussing money.

Even patients of otherwise high integrity appear to be corrupted and misdirected by the concept of financial value. It is also an impenetrable topic wherein they dwell on the concept of value of their disability and perceive that others are invested in diminishing that value.

Regardless of the degree of distortion or sometimes even partial accuracy of some of their perceptions, this preoccupation interferes with the continuity, comprehensiveness, compliance and effectiveness of care.

The approach I have always taken is to tell a patient from the onset that my responsibility…and their responsibility…is solely for recovery and that other issues need to be set aside and that the focus needs to be exclusively upon the treatment process and their compliance with it.

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