What is Work Hardening?
Work hardening is a specialized physical therapy protocol that focuses on helping individuals in a chronic phase of rehabilitation return to work by offering more intense and focused clinical treatments or therapy sessions to restore function and meet specific work-related requirements.
Benefits of Work Hardening
Patients in a chronic phase of rehabilitation, which is usually 4 weeks after the injury and a standard course of physical therapy, may not yet be fully ready to return to work due to functional restrictions and psychosocial factors. A personalized and highly structured work hardening program can help patients return to pre-injury level of work-related activity in safe and timely fashion.
What to Expect with a Work Hardening Program?
A work hardening program utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that may involve a physical therapist or occupational therapist, a physician, a vocational psychologist, and a case manager. This team of professionals determine the functional baseline for the patient and develop a tailored work hardening program to address the patient’s vocational, functional, and behavioral needs. The program may include having the patient perform job-simulation tasks and use specialized equipment to enable return to work with minimal or no restrictions. The duration of the work hardening program will vary depending on the type of injury and the work requirements.
Ideal Candidates for Work Hardening
Ideal candidates for a work hardening include injured police officers, firefighters, construction workers, mechanics, plumbers, painters, electricians, chefs, delivery drivers, and people who do any type of labor-intensive work.
To find out if you might benefit from the Work Hardening Program offered by ACE Rehab Physical Therapy Specialists, please call .