What is a Work Conditioning Program?
A work conditioning program is a post-acute, work-related, intensive, goal-oriented treatment program, specifically designed to restore an individual's systemic, neurological, musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary functions in preparation for return to work. The purpose of work conditioning is to provide an active rehabilitation program that is designed to optimize the worker's physical and functional abilities to return to work.
All Fit to Function Kinesiology work conditioning programs take place in non-clinical, community-based environments, which means that sessions can occur in a location that is convenient for the worker.
When is Work Conditioning Appropriate?
- When the worker has been inactive and is deconditioned (> four weeks)
- When the worker has reached a plateau with other traditional therapy
- When the worker is ready to RTW, but is unable to meet physical job demands
- Post-surgery or post-cancer treatment
- When a non-clinical environment is preferred
- When community integration and independence can facilitate the RTW process
What Are The Program Components of Work Conditioning?
Evidence-based research supports the fact that the greater the length of time lapsed from the initial injury up until the time of return to work, presents a higher risk of re-injury, as a result of deconditioning. That is why Fit to Function Kinesiology develops individualized, progressively graded work conditioning programs to accommodate the worker. By gradually increasing the work levels to those the worker was accustomed to prior to the injury, the risk of further injury or re-injury is minimized. The following program components are incorporated with every worker to ensure systematic preparation for return to work:
- Therapeutic Activities - Corrective movement pattern/exercises to address the injured area (s)
- Specific Flexibility/Mobility Program
- General Total Body Strengthening
- Endurance and Aerobic Capacity Training
- Specificity of Training - functional job specific work simulation
- Education: Pain Concepts and Management/Body Mechanics/Ergonomics Training
- A comprehensive kinesiology assessment which includes a comprehensive verbal interview to gather medical history and movement evaluation, work-specific functional abilities testing, identification of physical job demands, and psychosocial risk factor screening for disability.
- Phone call to case manager with verbal findings within 24 hours.
- Initial Assessment Report, if requested.
- Full orientation includes an education session on understanding pain, safe exercise technique, body mechanics and core strengthening.
- Therapeutic activities, core, cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and functional exercise training are tailored to the worker's physical ability, and RTW goals are developed and progressed by a Registered Kinesiologist.
- Work simulation tasks, developed and progressed by a Registered Kinesiologist, build strength, endurance, balance and confidence specific to a worker's physical job demands.
- Emphasis on symptom self-management, pacing, safe body mechanics, and problem solving of job-specific ergonomic issues are woven throughout all program components.
- Work conditioning may involve a combination of programming in land and water-based environments.
- Clients attend one to three sessions per week, and independently between sessions, and may gradually transition into the workplace.
- All work conditioning is carried out in community-based environments.
- Worksite visits may be recommended to ensure programming properly prepares workers for job demands.
Communication with case managers:
- Telephone contact as needed
- Regular progress reports, as requested
- Immediate e-mail or phone contact for client absences or cancellations