Ever wonder if the work comp patient that you’re discharging is really capable of returning to work? Does he/she have the physical abilities to do the job?
Or have you ever felt the physician was holding the patient out of work too long or sending them back to early?
Champion your industrial athletes!
Industrial athletes are often seen as the underdog of the PT world.
Many assume that workers’ compensation patients don’t want to get back to work, or work comp patients don’t give full effort, or it is frustrating to deal with the work comp system seeing patients go back to work too early or staying out of work too long.
It’s time to start rooting for the underdog! The single most effective tool you can use to get your work comp patients back on top is a return to work (RTW) screen. If you aren’t using a RTW screen for work comp patients, you are cheating them and you are cheating yourself.
When physicians and case managers look to you as a therapist for guidance on the return to work decision, what do you to give them? A statement based on subjectivity and clinical intuition? Or maybe the physician or case manager doesn’t consult with you on the RTW decision. Have you ever disagreed with a return to work decision on one of your work comp patients but felt powerless to influence the decision? By performing a brief RTW screen as part of your discharge evaluation and comparing the results to the patient’s job demands, you’ll be able to clearly and objectively show whether the patient is ready to return to work. If you include a consistency of effort test in the mix, you’ll also be providing some extra support for your feelings about the patient’s level of effort – good or bad.
With a well-designed FCE system, you can provide the physician with objective data which makes both him and you look good to the carrier/employer… and you are doing right by the patient at the same time. Industrial athletes shouldn’t be the underdogs. Implement an FCE/RTW system and make them champions again.
Learn an effective method for making sure you’re recommending return to work at the right time and get CEUs for your license renewal. Check out the ErgoScience Industrial Athlete Mastery Series and the ErgoScience FCE training.
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