Work Conditioning vs. Work Hardening

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.

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What Our Clients Have to Say About Us

“As a Nurse Case Manager, I find the work conditioning program at Job Ready Services to be the GOLD STANDARD. Excellent communication from the staff regarding progression or lack of progression of the injured worker is provided on a regular basis and this has led to great success with return to work or identification of injuries that will not allow them to return to their previous work assignment. The staff is trained in X-RTS methods for doing Functional Capacity Evaluations which is extremely helpful. Excellent staff, easy referral process, and great source of communication!”

– Vicki Hewitt-McNeil, NCM

“After eleven years of interpreting for workers’ comp, I have seen many facilities that treat injured people. I know the Doctors, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Work Conditioning Places that are part of the network for workers’ comp. With that knowledge I know where I would go if I were in need. The only place I would go for work conditioning is Job Ready Services, because I have not seen any place that offers the superior service that Job Ready Services offers. Vincent, the therapist in charge, is constantly observing the patients and watching that they use the correct posture, using the correct mechanics, and lifting the correct…”

– Arabela Olivares Coble

“We partnered with Job Ready Services in 2015 to establish the job analysis for all of our major jobs groups and implement Work Steps pre-employment testing at all of our locations.  This program has allowed us to improve a candidate’s chances of success by determining whether or not they can safely perform the essential functions of the position.  Over the past few years, we have realized a reduction in injuries and a significant decrease in our MOD rate.  We believe Job Ready Services has been a key component of our success as we strive to provide a safe and healthy working environment for the Coastal Crew.”

– Audrey J. Robbins-Bledsoe, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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