Brief biopsychosocially informed education can improve insurance workers' back pain beliefs: Implications for improving claims management behaviours
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Background: Biopsychosocially informed education is associated with improved back pain beliefs and positive changes in health care practitioners’ practice behaviours. Objective: Assess the effect of this type of education for insurance workers who are important non-clinical stakeholders in the rehabilitation of injured workers. Methods: Insurance workers operating in the Western Australian workers’ compensation system underwent two, 1.5 hour sessions of biopsychosocially informed education focusing on understanding and identifying barriers to recovery of injured workers with musculoskeletal conditions. Back pain beliefs were assessed pre-education, immediately post-education and at three-month follow-up (n = 32). Self-reported and Injury Management Advisor-reported assessment of change in claims management behaviours were collected at the three-month follow-up. Results: There were positive changes in the Health Care Providers’ Pain and Impairment Relationship Scale (p = 0.009) and Back Beliefs Questionnaire (p = 0.049) immediately following the education that were sustained at three-month follow-up. Positive changes in claims management behaviours were supported by self-reported and Injury Management Advisor-reported data. Conclusion: This study provides preliminary support that a brief biopsychosocially informed education program can positively influence insurance workers’ beliefs regarding back pain, with concurrent positive changes in claims management behaviours. Further research is required to ascertain if these changes result in improved claims management outcomes.
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