Abstract

Part two of this two-part article on psychological factors in delayed and failed recovery and resultant unnecessary work disability (DFRUD) considers both conceptual and practical interventions, including specific evaluation and treatment methods. The authors propose five categories of intervention for DERUD: 1) advance and operationalize our knowledge base; 2) make conceptual and practical shifts in our approaches; 3) place greater emphasis on prevention; 4) improve recognition of potentially difficult cases, and 5) apply specific management approaches and tools. Further, the authors propose conceptual and practical changes that should be made: Eliminate the dualistic separation of mind and body and the scientific reductionism that follows; change the focus from disability to capability; reduce improper workers’ compensation claims; improve the administrative and medical management of valid claims; enhance collegiality and communication among all stakeholders; and adopt a cost-utility vs absolute cost approach. The overarching goals of managing DFRUD include optimizing administrative and clinical treatment of the worker; protecting all stakeholders from excess; and overcoming barriers to intervention. To these ends, three activities can optimize the process: Intervene early; avoid iatrogenicity (ie, shorten claim durations and reduce costs); and stratify risk and employ stepped care. Barriers to meaningful intervention in DFRUD include questions of jurisdiction and responsibility for management (eg, does management of DFRUD fall to insurers or clinicians); who will pay; what are the maladaptive health cognitions and/or psychiatric comorbidities; and how can clinician behavior be altered to implement evidence-based practice?

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