What is the single most important psychological factor that determines the patient_s probability of recovery?_
The injured worker must be capable of receiving and understanding patient education. He must understand what damages have occurred and what can_and cannot_be done to assist him.
When treating injured workers, most of us proceed as though the patient has at least a basic fund of knowledge that permits him to understand the nature of his orthopedic or neurological injury.
When you sit down with a patient, and/or when a patient insists on copies of his records, we make the assumption that the patient reads, the listens to, researches, and develops an understanding of, his condition.
However, quite often the patient does not even have a cursory understanding of the nature of the injury, cause of the pain, benefits of care, limits of current medical knowledge, and a functional appreciation of the true nature of limitations.
Further complications arise when these individuals rely upon others who cannot provide them with objective data. Friends and family comprise the latter group, and they can often complicate recovery by offering.
It is imperative that an assessment be made of the patient_s intellectual function and then patient education and planning be couched in terms the he/she can understand.