When an injured worker meets their established short/long term goals during physical or occupational therapy but are still unable to return to work they may benefit from a Work Hardening/Conditioning Program. This program will help focus on the remaining functional deficits or de-conditioning; they may have due to their injury. The injured worker may benefit from a higher level of therapeutic intervention designed specifically with the primary goal of returning to work. These programs are full body intensive programs that focus on work simulation activities to get injured workers back to work. Each program is designed specifically for the needs of the injured worker. This is based upon their injury and their occupation or the next step in the return to work process.
Work Hardening is a “highly structured, goal-oriented, individualized treatment program designed to return a person back to work.” This program addresses musculoskeletal exercises, functional activities, and worker performance. The Work Hardening Program (WHP) utilizes real or stimulated work activities to restore physical, behavioral and vocational functions.
Work Conditioning is a “work related, intensive, goal-oriented treatment program designed to restore an individual systemic, neuromusculoskeletal (strength, endurance, movement, flexibility, and motor control) and cardiopulmonary functions.” Treatment involves exercises as well as functional tasks or activities.