Well, it has happened… A trusted employee has sustained an injury and the worker’s comp process has begun. The employee has seen doctors, perhaps has undergone surgery or had extensive treatment and has participated in the rehabilitation process. Still, the employee tells the doctor and his employer that he is unable to do the job. Or so he thinks. Has a consideration been made for the employee to participate in a ‘Job Ready’ course of work conditioning?
Mr. B was a 55 year old para-transit driver who sustained a lumbar sprain/strain when maneuvering a client in a wheelchair. His injury occurred 7 months prior to being referred for work conditioning and did not require any surgery. He had been an employee with the same employer for 16 years and had returned on a light duty assignment, “unable” to return to full duty. The case manager shared that the employer was at a point of frustration and the relationship was becoming strained. Work conditioning was ordered as a last-ditch effort. During initial evaluation, he reported apprehension about hurting himself again and limited his lifting attempts to 18 lbs. During cross-reference lifting, he was able to lift 37 lbs. A very inconsistent showing, to say the least. He was pleasant and agreeable to attempting to progress in the program, however. After only 12 visits, his lifting had improved to 100 lbs. from below his waist! He reported feeling great and wanted to ask the doctor to release him to full duty. When asked about the change, Mr. B. shared that he was so afraid to hurt himself, he didn’t know what he was truly capable of. The doctor released him to full duty work with no restrictions.
Mr. S was a 33 year old construction worker who injured his shoulder and required a rotator cuff repair. This was the second time he had to have this done on the same shoulder, with the first occurring 7 years prior. He was understandably fearful of further injury and increasing or exacerbating his pain. During initial evaluation, he demonstrated the ability to lift 100-125 lbs. from below the waist but only 50 lbs. to shoulder height and 40 lbs. overhead. He participated with great effort and motivation for 30 visits and demonstrated a 50% improvement with all of his above waist lifting. He, too, wanted to try to return to work and was released to attempt full-duty work without restriction.
So, what is the moral of these 2 stories? . . . Having the opportunity to determine, in a safe environment, what workers were truly capable of performing, increase their confidence to get back to doing what they were doing at work. Confidence and knowledge about what one can do safely, will significantly decrease and sometimes eliminate the fear of re-injury at work. The “YES I CAN” mentality makes all the difference in the world when trying to maintain a workforce of safe and productive employees. Now it’s your turn. When considering treatment options, you can say “YES I CAN” to work conditioning.
If you would like to learn more about work conditioning, new technology in FCE’s, or other services to reduce worker’s comp costs, please contact Job Ready Services: 919-256-1400 or visit our website: www.jobreadyservices.com.
– –Submitted by Lauri Jugan, Clinical Director of Job Ready Services