Returning to Work early after Injury Benefits the Worker
Research has shown that returning to work early after injury can benefit the worker physically, financially, and psychologically. Staying active after injury also shows to aid in healing more quickly than traditional advice of rest and immobility. Therapy and movement can help the injured worker learn to move safely and listen to their body. They can also learn to implement coping strategies, and utilize methods to promote healing. Going back to work can seem like a daunting task. It can even be scary for the worker to return to the very tasks and environment that caused the injury. Employers and Providers need to work together for workers returning to work after an injury. Returning to Work early after injury benefits the worker.
So how can Employers and Providers ease the transition of Returning to Work?
Employers that have an established Temporary Transitional Duty (TTD) are best situated for the above scenario. TTD will match job tasks to the worker’s capabilities. Employers can be as creative as they want with offering a collection of tasks that is within the employee’s abilities. All tasks offered to the employee should be documented and agreed upon by both parties. A collaborative effort to keep the employee safe and reduce risk of further injury.
Providers can help in this process by writing a Workability Report that is related to the employee’s work, and based on functional testing of the employee’s abilities. The Workability Report is most helpful when it states what the employee is physically able to perform in regards to positional tolerances like standing, sitting, and walking, as well as physical demands like lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling. A provider with the access to therapists who can assess employee’s abilities, document symptoms, and provide reports on limitations to physical demands and positional tolerances allows the employee to understand that the workability report is based on their actual abilities, rather than a estimate from the provider. This provider will be a key player in communicating this information to both the employee and the employer.