Onsite therapists are able to attend to/resolve employee pain complaints, as well as ergonomic needs on an immediate basis and with less time away from work. Consider this example: Your employee “Joe” notes shoulder soreness while working and reports it to his supervisor. Joe was directed to see the onsite therapist. The therapist utilizes interventions under OSHA first aid weekly over the next several weeks at the employer’s work site. Interventions such as heat, ice, massage, kinesiotape and/or stretches are utilized to reduce Joe’s symptoms.
Additionally, the therapist performs a Job Analysis, observing Joe working at his job, and makes ergonomic improvements to his job tasks. The Job Analysis is documented in writing with supporting video/pictures for further reference. The therapist is able to suggest positioning changes to minimize postural and body mechanic issues that might perpetuate symptoms or potential injuries. However, if Joe’s symptoms aren’t improving, the onsite therapist and safety team may determine there are significant risk factors for the shoulder upon review of the Job Analysis, and the injury may be deemed to be work-related.
What if Joe needs further examination and therapy?
At PDR Clinics, Joe would be seen by a physician who specializes in work related injuries. The PDR physician would review the Job Analysis, along with video and still pictures, during his/her examination to help determine the next steps in Joe’s care. The advanced practice occupational therapist and physical therapist review Joe’s physical demands from his Job Analysis, and determine therapy goals for work related tasks. Functional work conditioning would be employed at each session, along with manual therapy, MedX, education on body mechanics and pain management techniques.
What if Joe needs work restrictions? How can he be safe and remain active with work duties, promoting quicker return to full duty work?
The PDR Clinics physician would review Joe’s functional abilities at each follow up, and update the Workability Report in direct relationship to the physical demands of Joe’s job. The case manager at PDR Clinics communicates with the employer to coordinate accommodations within the employee’s workability and functional abilities. As Joe continues to work, the onsite therapist observes him working to ensure that work tasks are within the workability determined by the physician, and address any ergonomic risks related to his shoulder.
How does this help both the employee and the employer?
Through skilled therapy and coordinated return to work with the employer, Joe continues to make steady improvements until he’s able to return to full duty. Throughout the process, the onsite therapist is able to continue to check in with Joe for further body mechanics coaching and ergonomic recommendations. Joe is happy to be feeling better and use his shoulder for daily activities. The employer is thrilled that Joe missed little time from work and that work comp issues were minimized. In addition, the work place is safer for other employees as attention is paid to potential ergonomic risks. It’s a win, win situation!