Return to Work Program

One of the most challenging impacts of an injury is uncertainty surrounding your ability to return to work. At Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists, we hear these concerns regularly, and we empathize with the instability that injuries can cause. That’s why we’ve spent years enhancing our Return to Work program, maximizing the most effective results for our patients, with the fewest number of visits.

Understanding AOS’s Return to Work Programs

Return to work programs were developed to help patients who have been injured to do exactly what the name implies: return to pre-injury employment. After being prescribed the Return-to-Work program by a physician, the process of getting a patient back to work begins immediately, with our first step of evaluating a patient within 24-48 hours in order to begin building a care plan. To build the care plan, we meet and gather information on their needs, establish expectations, and gain an understanding of the physical requirements of their job.

At the conclusion of the Return-to-Work program, the patient will have one of three potential outcomes. They may be:

  • Discharged and return to work
  • Prescribed to participate in a Work Conditioning Program lasting up to 4 weeks of job simulation and training,
  • Prescribed to undergo further functional testing

There are several tests which are used to objectively evaluate a patient’s level of physical functioning. These include: Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). the Baseline Test (FBT) for work conditioning, Impairment Rating (IR), post-offer employment test, and on-site job analysis.

Our Work Conditioning Program

All of our worker’s compensations patients begin in the Return to Work Program, but only a few transition and require additional treatment through our Work Conditioning Program. This structured program is tailored to a client’s specific job demands to increase strength, restore function, rebuild confidence, reduce risk for re-injury, and promote a safe return to work.

Work Conditioning Programs help transition a patient with a strenuous, non-sedentary job safely back to work following an injury. For Work Conditioning patients, their job description might include strenuous labor such as lifting, bending, pushing-pulling, carrying, squatting, kneeling, climbing or walking and standing for extended periods. This program also begins with the development of a care plan, in alignment with the patient’s job description and expected physical tasks.

A therapist may recommend Work Conditioning to the physician following an initial Physical or Occupational Therapy prescription if progress has plateaued, or when the patient is ready for and may benefit from this transition program to return to work. The patient’s job demands and therapy expectations would be reviewed with the patient with a care plan developed. This Work Conditioning program is typically 2-3 hour sessions, 3 times a week for up to 4 weeks.

Work Conditioning care plans usually include a combination of two elements: Conditioning and Job Simulation. Conditioning includes training in flexibility, stabilization, strengthening, and endurance. In Conditioning, the patient practices related tasks and movements to those expected in their job, all while performing proper and safe body mechanics.

The AOS Difference

Through a collaborative team approach with the physician, employer, nurse case manager, and the patient, we gather information, establish expectations, and gain an understanding of the work requirements. Throughout the process, patients can expect feedback on their progress at every step of the way.

Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists designed our Return to Work program with an individualized patient-centric approach, focusing on restoring quality of life and physical function following an injury. We empower patients to return to work with self-confidence, with the knowledge that their recovery has been medically safe and appropriate. Our goal is for patients returning to work to fully participate with the same level of proficiency as before. We strive to accomplish this goal by designing unique treatment plans specific to each job description and developing job simulation tasks to ensure readiness to return to work.

For Patients

Individualized Care

Individualized Treatment Plans

AOS recognizes that every patient and each injury is unique.  We custom tailor an individualized treatment plan specific to each patient, their injury, and their job description.

For Employers

Patient Recovery Team Approach

Patient Recovery Team Approach

AOS collaborates with employers to manage a patient’s safe return to work.  Our doctors and therapists carefully develop a custom treatment plan for each patient’s unique job description to facilitate a safe return to work and reduce the risk of re-injury.

For Nurse Case Managers

Dedicated WC Department

Dedicated WC Department

AOS values communication and collaboration with employers and nurse case managers as it pertains to a patient’s diagnosis, course of treatment, and long-term outlook. We also have a designated Workers’ Compensation contact for both the Orthopaedic and Physical Therapy sides of our practice.

2020 AOS Work Conditioning Case Study

In 2020, 611 patients with occupational injuries were referred into Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists’ Return-to-Work Program . Of those patients, 14% (86/611 patients) transitioned into and benefited from work conditioning.

In 2020, 611 patients with occupational injuries were referred into Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists’ Return-to-Work Program . Of those patients, 14% (86/611 patients) transitioned into and benefited from work conditioning.

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Total New Worker’s Compensation Patients treated by AOS Hand and Physical Therapy in 2020
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Patients in Work Conditioning Program in 2020
96%

Work Conditioning Program Patients Returned to Gainful Employment

Of the 86 patients in our Work Conditioning Program, 96% successfully returned to gainful employment

Of the 86 patients in our work conditioning program, 96% of patients were successfully able to return to gainful employment

From our 2020 Work Conditioning Program, 62 patients returned to full duty, and 21 returned to modified duty. In total, Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists returned 96% of its patients to gainful employment, while the remaining 4% warranted further medical intervention.

From our 2020 Work Conditioning Program, 62 patients returned to full duty, and 21 returned to modified duty. In total, Atlantic Orthopaedic Specialists returned 96% of its patients to gainful employment, while the remaining 4% warranted further medical intervention.

Work Conditioning Patients

Not only were these outcomes effective, but our program is efficient as well. The average number of visits per patient was 12 work conditioning visits, meaning patients in our Work Conditioning Program met their goals more quickly than ever before.

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Average Work Conditioning Visits to Goal

Not only were these outcomes effective, but our program is efficient as well. The average number of visits per patient was 12 work conditioning visits, meaning patients in our Work Conditioning Program met their goals more quickly and safely returned to work.

AOS physicians and therapists work closely during the entire rehabilitation process. This collaboration saves patient travel time and shortens recovery times, ultimately allowing for returning to work more quickly. We are committed to providing the highest quality musculoskeletal care for all of our patients, including those with occupational injuries. Not only is it our goal to restore function and mobility of a patient, we also strive to help employers manage that patient’s eventual return to work. We provide and constantly seek out new ways to make the rehabilitative process move smoothly and efficiently for both patient and employee. The Return to Work Program is available at all 4 of our therapy locations and evening hours are available to accommodate working schedules. Schedule an appointment today by calling (757) 321-4284.