A doctor would prescribe back or knee bracing to patients for one reason – to alleviate patients’ pain or discomfort along with providing them with the motion restriction and the support necessary to enable patients to complete their plan of care. Your patients’ completion of the prescribed plan of care is crucial to improve their state of health and in turn their quality of life.
As a healthcare provider, you are the authority to identify when a brace is medically necessary for a patient’s recovery.
But what happens when the patient decides against your advice and decline the support device? As a doctor you are well aware that the brace will help the patient’s symptoms and progress toward better health; however, the patient is not convinced.
Should the patient not accept the brace, we are well aware the patient may turn to pain-relieving drugs. These pain-relieving drugs only give a false sense of health and in the long run may lead to additional health problems.
You can’t force your patient to wear a back or knee brace. And you can’t force patients not to take drugs for pain, other than refusing to write a pharmaceutical prescription.
So, what do you do in this case?
Let’s look at this situation from the perspective of an orthopedic clinic. In orthopedic clinics, the doctor would write prescriptions for a medically indicated brace and give them to patients.
Without question or hesitation, the doctor lets the patient know this is a vital part of their treatment plan. The doctor tells the patient how often to wear the brace, when to wear the brace, and sends the patient straight off for the fitting of the brace.
The doctor is certain about the prescription and translates this certainty to the patient. The patient is comforted by the certainty of the doctor to help with their problem.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can find a doctors’ office with fliers in the waiting room promoting bracing. You might find a display brace in the corner of the waiting room.
In this office the medical person would have examined the patient and written a prescription for the bracing. However, there is one difference. In some clinics the medical person does not present to the patient the need for the bracing, but rather leaves it up to non-medical people to present the bracing.