Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Comp “Medicalization”
“Medicalization” is a term our Nurse Case Managers use to describe those complex/unstable medical files where everything in the injured workers’ life revolves around his/her workers’ compensation treatment, to the exclusion of life’s daily activities and blessings.
When an injured workers has been “medicalized” all they can think about is–
- When do I take my meds?
- When is my next appointment?
- What new procedures/prescriptions should I be requesting (that I saw on TV or the Internet)?
- When will I get my indemnity check?
Unfortunately, when severe “medicalization” sets in, the co-morbidity/side issues magnify. These include (just to name a few):
- Decreased Pulmonary Capacity
- Chronic/Complex Pain
- Loss of muscle tone/strength
The RN Case Manager is uniquely qualified to minimize the risk of “medicalization” when they get involved in cases early on–even if the injury appears to only be a simple medical/non lost time issue. The RN Case Manager must–
- Secure cooperation of all stakeholders–(including family members and treating physicians).
- Secure injured worker buy in to what your goals are and what their goals should be.
- Secure treating physician/employer buy in to innovative alternative duty programs. (Nothing prompts a minor hand injury/simple strain/shoulder pull/contusion etc., claimant to appreciate their situation then a volunteer assignment at the VA/homeless shelter/hospital pediatric wing.)
- Initiate constant/constructive communication and accountability from all stakeholders.
We don’t win every battle, but we can win more of them.
Call us, We can do better.
Posted in OMCA