CARF

Work Hardening

Work Hardening is a multidisciplinary program that was developed in order to bridge the gap between the acute stage of injury and eventual return to work.  Its purpose is to return the injured worker to gainful employment, while educating the employee in order to decrease the risk of re-injury.


Work Hardening

Our CARF accredited Work Hardening program offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary outcomes based approach to worker rehabilitation.  Work Hardening patients may have been off of work months, or often times years.  The original injury may have healed, but the worker may have lost significant strength, range of motion, endurance, and/or confidence in their ability to return to work.  Often, the patient will still have pain or other symptoms with certain movements, activities, or positions.  The Work Hardening environment is structured to gradually increase the patient's productivity while managing related symptoms.


The rehabilitation process begins with an initial assessment (FCE) of the client's tolerance to a variety of work related lifting tasks, positions, and static postures.  This examination is completed by a Physical Therapist.  The patient is also typically evaluated by a Psychologist in order to assess related psychological issues such as fear of re-injury, and any other potential barriers that could impede return to work.  Lastly, the injured worker is evaluated by a board certified Medical Physician who assesses any medication issues, or contraindications that could affect participation in the program.  Information gained is then compared to the worker's diagnosis, limitations, and work specific job demands and used by the multidisciplinary team to make return to work recommendations or to plan an appropriate course of treatment to allow for successful return to work. 


While in the program, weekly contacts are maintained with the employee's insurance company/case manager, and referring physician.  Additionally, communication is maintained with the pre-injury employer in order to assess the potential of modified duty positions, and to assist in facilitating the return to work process.  Vocational consultation is used as needed if no employment is available upon entering the Work Hardening program.
 

At the conclusion of the program, an FCE is performed in order to objectively assess return to work abilities.  The patient is then evaluated by the Medical Physician in order to determine return to work recommendations based upon performance in Work Hardening and on final FCE.