Work hardening is an individualized, structured program designed to help you return to your pre-injury work level safely. Tasks you may need rehabilitation for include: sitting, standing, driving, lifting, twisting, and many others.
Industrial rehabilitation is an occupational therapy conditioning program that will help you safely perform the specific requirements of your job. Our therapists strive to get you back to work healthy, with the knowledge of how to prevent injury in the future.
Functional capacity evaluations
These 90-minute evaluations help us understand your physical abilities and work capacity. They can help us design personalized therapy plans or decide when and how you can safely return to your job. Results of these evaluations are often needed by employers or case managers.
This may include an assessment of your:
- Ability to lift
- Ability to handle tools
- Motivation and consistency of effort
- Musculoskeletal status: strength, range of motion, and endurance
- Positional tolerances: sitting, standing, squatting, climbing
In this program, you will work with occupational therapists, a physician, your case manager, and your employer. The sessions you take part in are designed to increase your strength and endurance on the job. Your therapy will include progressive exercise and work-related tasks.
You’ll also learn safe body mechanics and movements for your body and health problem. We may also teach you healthy ways to manage pain specific to your injury or disability and job. This program usually lasts four to six weeks with three sessions per week.
Industrial rehabilitation therapists can visit your job site to assess your workstation and work style. They can then make recommendations and ergonomic modifications to help you perform your job more safely and comfortably. Employers often request these to increase safety and reduce injury rates.
Training and education
Occupational therapists are also available for training and education of individual workers or whole departments.
They cover topics like:
- Computer workstation setup and safe work habits
- Exercises to prevent physical strain on the job
- Ergonomic principles applied to specific motions and situations to increase efficiency and minimize injury
- Safe materials handling
Most insurance plans require a referral or pre-authorization to cover rehabilitation therapy. Please call your insurance company to verify.
If your referring doctor is not part of the Dartmouth Health system, ask them to send us any notes related to the condition for which you are seeking treatment. Your medical history can influence your treatment.