Work Conditioning vs. Work Hardening
We are often asked, “do you offer work hardening?” and we do not. However, if we speak more with the inquirer, we most likely learn that work conditioning is the service that is being requested.
What is Work Hardening and Conditioning?
According to the American Physical therapy Association (APTA):
Work hardening/conditioning is a work related, intensive, goal-oriented treatment program specifically designed to restore an individual’s systemic, neuromusculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary functions. The objective of the work conditioning program is to restore the injured employee’s physical capacity and function for return to work
According to the North Carolina Industrial Commission:
Work Conditioning is:
- A daily program ranging from 2-4 hours
- Consists of strengthening & exercise
- Involves individual instruction (e.g. how to best perform job duties post-injury)
- Offers job task simulation
- Designed based on return-to-work goals
Work Hardening is:
- An interdisciplinary program running up to 8 hours per day
- Focuses on the physical, psychosocial, and vocational needs of the client while addressing the issues of productivity, safety, physical tolerances, and worker behaviors
- Involves a psychologist, vocational rehabilitation counselor, doctor, PT/OT, and/or other providers
- Includes work conditioning as a part of the program
Job Ready Services does not have a physician or psychologist on staff and therefore cannot offer a true work hardening program. Work hardening is a very comprehensive, time-consuming, and expensive program, and it is rarely actually needed. The terms Work Conditioning and Work Hardening have been used interchangeably and thus, have created confusion. Many physical therapy clinics will state that they offer work hardening programs, but if you look closely at what the program involves, it is simply Work Conditioning.
For more information about our work conditioning program, call our office at 919-256-1400.