Work Hardening is a structured return-to-work program. It is an extension of traditional physical therapy treatment that bridges the gap between the physical therapy clinic and the actual workplace. Work Hardening includes training in proper stretching, strengthening, overall aerobic conditioning and specific work tasks are simulated.
Exercise and simulated work tasks are closely monitored and modified by therapists daily to achieve return-to-work goals as quickly as possible. Goals are job-related and objectively measured. Reports provide specific objective information, combined with recommendations based on data, clinical judgement, and experience.
BENEFITS OF WORK HARDENING
- Successful transition from off work (or light duty) to regular duty
- Allows practice of actual work tasks in a controlled environment
- Helps injured workers achieve their highest level of function following a work-related injury
- Objective documentation of safe work levels to reduce risk of re-injury
- Includes instruction in areas such as correct body mechanics, pain management techniques, stress management, and education to help reduce possibility of re-injury
Work Hardening is a valuable program for individuals to reduce long-term disability and maximize functional abilities. The ultimate goal for each patient in this program is to return to an appropriate, safe level of full-time employment.