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Work conditioning and work hardening are two types of advanced therapeutic interventions that can help patients recover enough function to return to work after completing traditional physical therapy. These programs use simulated or real work tasks to prepare patients for a safe return to their job duties.
What Can You Expect?
Work conditioning and work hardening programs typically last 4-8 weeks and are tailored to meet the specific job requirements of each patient. Work conditioning sessions typically last 1-3 hours, 2-3 days per week, while work hardening sessions are 2-4 hours, 3-5 days per week. The length and frequency of the program can be adjusted to fit the patient’s work schedule.
At the initial visit, a therapist will assess the injury and discuss the patient’s job duties to determine their functional baseline. The therapist will evaluate the patient’s level of physical activity, aerobic ability, grip strength, core, mobility, and joint strength in relation to their injury.
Once the functional baseline is established, an individualized program is developed to improve the patient’s physical abilities. The program combines cardiovascular and strengthening exercises with stretching and mobility conditioning, tailored to the specific job tasks. Regular progress updates are provided to the referring physician and other authorized parties, including documentation of patient attendance, participation, and progression. When the patient reaches full functionality or a plateau, discharge orders will be issued.
For Injured Workers
For injured workers, work-related injuries can cause significant stress and affect their ability to work and provide for their needs. The focus is on relieving pain quickly, restoring the normal range of motion, strength, flexibility, and stamina, ensuring a complete recovery after necessary surgical procedures, and educating patients on how to manage their injuries and prevent future occurrences.
For Case Managers and Employers
For case managers and employers, comprehensive programs are offered to help injured workers recover quickly and safely, with the goal of restoring optimal function for safe and efficient job
performance. Effective case management, detailed and timely reports, and positive communication between health care providers, workers, and case managers are provided for the worker’s compensation case.
Work Hardening in Lehigh Valley
Work Hardening is a specialized program with a different focus from post-injury therapy. The focus is to get the worker in work shape to successfully return to their pre-injury job. The primary job functions are simulated in the clinic with indirect supervision from a physical therapist. This can be done in a group setting in which each patient is working on the job-specific tasks required to get them back to work. Work Hardening is an ideal way to get a recovered patient back to work while minimizing the potential of re-injury.
Preventative care benefits for employers include decreased turnover, increased worker productivity, a safer work environment, reductions in lost time, and a diminished incidence of fraud and abuse.
Work Conditioning in Lehigh Valley
Work hardening is a specialized program that focuses on getting the worker back into shape to successfully return to their pre-injury job. The primary job functions are simulated in the clinic with indirect supervision from a physical therapist. This can be done in a group setting, with each patient working on the job-specific tasks required to get them back to work. Work hardening minimizes the potential of re-injury and is an ideal way to get a recovered patient back to work.
Work conditioning is similar to work hardening, but is usually performed during post-injury therapy. It includes performing a certain work task as part of the routine therapy
If you’re interested in work conditioning or work hardening programs, contact us today to learn more.