Patients play a very large role in the treatment of work-related Injuries. Following an injury, the patient will work with the medical provider managing the patient’s claim to determine a treatment plan to achieve specific functional goals that the patient and provider have set. To achieve a positive outcome, it is important that the patient adhere to the treatment plan the medical provider has prescribed. This means taking medications as directed, arriving for and participating in prescribed treatments such as physical therapy, and adhering to assigned work restrictions at all times. It is important for patients to note that work restrictions are in effect 24/7, not just during work hours. Work restrictions are in place to protect the patient and support the body throughout the recovery process. When restrictions are not followed, the patient is at risk of causing additional damage to the injured area and prolonging the recovery process.
Equally important to arriving to appointments and following the medical providers’ treatment plan is communication between the medical provider and patient. Whether treatments are effective or not helping, pain levels throughout the day or the patient’s functional status and state of mind are all important pieces of information the medical provider needs to effectively manage a claim. If the patient does not communicate essential information to the medical provider, it is difficult for the medical provider to determine if the treatment plan appropriate. Additionally, information surrounding the patients’ injury is important as well. Whether or not a employer is accommodating work restrictions, if the patient has experienced a life changing event such as job loss, illness, or death of a family member, or, if the patient is feeling depressed because of their injury. All of this is essential information that needs to be shared with your medical provider.
Lastly, the patient needs to help facilitate communication between the medical provider and the employer. After every visit with the medical provider overseeing the patient’s treatment, the patient will receive a summary of the visit with work restrictions, follow up visits, and other valuable information for the employer to be aware of. The patient will be given 2 copies of this report. The first copy is for the patient’s personal records. The second report is to be given to their immediate supervisor upon the patients return to work. This is critical to make sure every party involved in the patient’s recovery is given the same information regarding the needs of the patient. If information regarding patient’s restrictions, follow-up visits, referrals, or work status is not communicated in a timely manner, it becomes difficult to effectively manage a patient’s recovery.