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WHAT IS WORK HARDENING PROGRAM

Below are the answers to questions that many referring providers would want to know.   The answers below provide a description of our program, and what to expect out of the treatment at Houston Medical Group.

The Work Hardening Program is a individually customized curriculum designed to help restore a patient to their pre-injury work status (or at least restore to an employable status in the patient’s profession).   This is accomplished through the use of extensive information gathering and research into the patient’s pre-injury employment, and creating a program that closely mimics the requirements for the patient’s employment, and slowly re-introducing and reconditioning the patient to meet those requirements. 

When would it be appropriate for a patient to be considered for a Work Hardening Program?

The medical providers at Houston Medical Group adhere to the most current guidelines set forth by the Texas Department of Insurance to ensure that our patients are afforded the best program to assist in their rehabilitation.  Creation of the work hardening program must be carefully researched to ensure the patient can not only become physically re-accustomed to their previous work lifestyle, but also to avoid re-injury and hindering the patient’s rehabilitation further.  Below are a few determining factors for consideration into the work hardening program:

  • Conservative therapy has already been performed, and the patient has not rehabilitated to the point that they can safely return to work.
  • The patient is in a profession that requires a significant amount of physical activity (professions that would be classified as having a physical demand requirement of medium or greater). 
  • The patient is not suffering from emotional issues due to their injury, but does have an attitude change that is to be expected with the sudden reduction or loss in gainful employment and curtailing of lifestyle. 
  • The patient is taking medications that can be continued, but not restrict the patient from returning to work.
  • The patient does not suffer from any other conditions that could be exacerbated by the Work Hardening Program. 

What should the patient expect on a daily visit?

The Work Hardening Program is designed to closely resemble the normal day-to-day functions that a patient would undertake throughout their daily work routine.  The program would therefore usually be up to 8 hours a day, five days a week.  However, as stated, if their normal schedule is not the usually 40 hour work week, the program will alter accordingly.   The program usually last two weeks (10 visits), at which the patient the patient is re-examined to denote their progress.

Who will be providing the treatment?

Work Hardening patients require very close attention for their rehabilitation to be effective.  Providers specifically trained in dealing with work-related rehabilitation would include our physical therapists, chiropractors, licensed social worker, and licensed vocational counselor.  We also trained staff members that would assist in helping the patient dealing with their outlook on life and how they have come to accept their current work status, in the hopes that they can return to their previous one.

What are the goals within our Work Hardening Program?

The ultimate goal for work hardening is returning to work.   However, there are many facets involved with ensuring that the patient is able to do so. 

  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Core strength
  • Occupational Familiarization
  • Psychological viewpoint
  • Overall Wellness

The Work Hardening Program ensures that each aspect of the patient’s rehabilitation is addressed and restored to ensure the patient can harmoniously return to work.

How is the success of the Work Hardening Program measured?

Houston Medical Group has set landmarks that we measure to assess the interim and overall outcome for our patients.  Below are a few of the milestones that all patients strive to attain:

  • Returning to Work
  • Attendance
  • Pre-injury range of motion. 
  • Return to Work (RTW) Status level        
  • Discharge Disposition.
  • Follow up recommendations.