While it is true and logical that family members would assist an injured worker, there are a number of cases in which this does not occur, and they fall into two categories:
a. Conscious and deliberate subversion _ the family has been angry at the injured worker for an extended period prior to injury. The injured worker may have been unreliable, nonproductive, demanding, and self-indulgent. The injury is seen as something that serves as a punishment for past misdeeds. The family feels that the suffering will bring the injured worker back under family control. They place themselves into positions of control regarding finances, medical care including dispensing of medication and even the injured workers_ compliance.
b. Unhealthy pampering and nurturance _ the family misperceives that coddling the injured worker is a sign of love and affection. They take on all tasks, responsibilities and over respond to the injured workers_ subjective complaints. They make no demands or requirements, and they have reduced (if any) expectancies. This is largely an unconscious process, and it reinforces the injured workers_ dependency and delays, if not eliminates, the patient_s motivation to mobilize.
Family members can be powerful allies. They have the capacity to insure that the medical regimen is followed and that the patient fully understands and participates in recover.
Quite often, however, the family has unresolved issues with the injured worker for which the aftermath of injury serves as an opportune time.