We offer comprehensive worker’s compensation and rehabilitation services in Laurel, Hyattsville and Glenn Dale/Bowie

Work hardening

July 13, 2018

Getting injured on the job and being unable to work as a result can be a troubling experience. Coping with the injury is challenging in and of itself, but when it keeps you from carrying out your profession, the blow tends to be even more severe. For most individuals who face this predicament, the goal is to recover from the injury and return to work as quickly and safely as possible. At CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services, we are very much aware of this desire and we are committed to helping our patients along every step of the recovery process. That’s why we offer a variety of worker’s compensation and rehabilitation services in Laurel, Hyattsville and Glenn Dale/Bowie, including functional capacity evaluations, work conditioning programs and work hardening programs.

Functional capacity evaluations

A functional capacity evaluation is an important tool used to assist employees, doctors, insurance companies and many other parties in deciding the safe, functional levels for an individual to return to work. It is a comprehensive screening that objectively measures strength, endurance, physical abilities, work level and tolerance. This data is then used to compare the employee’s overall health status and function to the demands of their job and work environment, which will help indicate if they’re ready to return to their position or not.

Candidates for functional capacity evaluations include those who have been injured on the job and want to know whether or not they can return to their pre-injury position or into an alternative gainful employment, anyone injured in a serious accident, and anyone applying for Social Security benefits. Here at CAM, our functional capacity evaluation is a nationally-standardized testing protocol that consist of an intake screening session, a musculoskeletal screen, multiple validity test, non-material and material handling tolerances and endurance testing. In situations when a job description is provided, we then compare these final results to all required job demands and make a determination on readiness to work and appropriate job placement. 

Work conditioning programs

For an injured employee that has not been able to return to full-duty work within 30-180 days after the accident or injury, a work conditioning program is often the best option. In order to qualify for this type of program, the employee must have a job to return to and be working half days or performing light duty at the time. Work conditioning programs consist of a series of systematic strengthening and conditioning exercises that gradually progress over time as the patient improves. There is also a minor emphasis in these exercises on work-related activities performed with proper body mechanics, which will physically and psychologically recondition the employee in order to facilitate their return to full employment.

Sessions last for 2-4 hours and may require 3-5 sessions per week, depending on the severity of the injury, amount of time since the injury, and the physical demands of the job. In all cases, the ultimate goal is to help the employee build up enough flexibility, strength and endurance to tolerate a full work schedule.

Work hardening programs

Work hardening is fairly similar to work conditioning, but it applies to a more specific set of injured workers and ramps up the frequency of the program. As with work conditioning programs, an employee can qualify for a work hardening program within 30-180 days of their injury/accident, but they may or may not have a specific position to return to. In many cases, employees who are candidates for this program have experienced an extended period of time away from work due to chronic pain or loss of function, generally from an injury on the job.

Work hardening programs also consist of similar stretching and strengthening exercises that are designed to recondition the employee and help them better prepare to full employment, but the duration is much more frequent. Sessions last for 4-8 hours, 3-5 days per week, depending on the same variables, and the ultimate goal is still to help the employee build up enough strength, flexibility and endurance to tolerate a full work schedule. With these programs, there is also an emphasis on simulating job tasks, and establishing a routine workday with regular work hours, hence the longer duration.

Get back to work quickly with our worker’s compensation and rehabilitation services in Laurel, Hyattsville and Glenn Dale/Bowie

As you can see, we provide all the tools necessary to help you return to your position in the fastest and safest manner possible, regardless of your injury or the amount of time you’ve been away from work. So if you’re dealing with an injury keeping you from your job that’s not improving, we strongly recommend taking advantage of our worker’s compensation and rehabilitation services in Laure, Hyattsville and Glenn Dale. Call CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services at 301-464-7390 today to schedule an appointment at any of our three clinics, or click here for more information on these services.