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Work Hardening

Participant in the Work Hardening rehabilitation program at Central Vermont Medical Center

Central Vermont Medical Center's Work Hardening program combines rehabilitation therapies and clinical psychology in order to help return clients to work and maximize their function. 

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The Work Hardening program at is designed to expeditiously help return a client to work and maximize their function. It addresses issues of work productivity, feasibility, safety, physical work tolerances and employee behaviors.

The work rehabilitation part of the program uses the worker’s involvement in real and simulated work activities as its principle means of treatment. The program is designed to address full body conditioning, not just the injured area. The expectation is that the patient’s physical abilities, overall cardiovascular stamina, muscular endurance and strength will increase with a gradual progression in activity which will translate to improved employability.

The role of the rehabilitation therapists is to act as a coaching team, to offer guidance, education and support to enable each person to achieve their own goals.

Program Structure

The client will meet with a clinical psychologist and have a functional capacity evaluation to objectify work goals and set an individualized plan of care.  From this plan of care, a daily program will be established that will include tasks specific to what the client will be doing upon return to work. For example, if the client is a building contractor, he/she will simulate using a nail gun, hammering, carrying sheetrock, etc, in addition to stretching and walking on the treadmill for cardiovascular fitness.

Work Rehabilitation is scheduled 5 days per week and up to 4 hours per day. The rehabilitation staff will regularly update the referring provider and case manager on the client’s progress throughout the 20 day program.

At the conclusion of the program the referring physician will be provided a detailed update of functional status and specific functional and work recommendations. The patient will be evaluated for return to work by the referring medical provider.

Patient Commitment Requirements

The goal of the Work Hardening program is to work toward achieving and identifying each individual’s realistic vocational plan. This cannot be accomplished without the patient’s motivation and active participation in the program.

To ensure that clients achieve maximum benefit from the program there are guidelines for attendance, clothing, safety behavior, and other pertinent topics:

Expectations

Participants are expected to be on time and to note the exact time of arrival and departure on a time card.

Absences

If a client is unable to attend the program the client is expected to call prior to the next treatment day. Case managers are notified of all excused and unexcused absences. More than 2 unexcused absences may result in dismissal from the program. Absences will have an effect on your workers compensation benefits.

Safety

Clients are expected to comply with all safety procedures.

Counseling

Counseling, an integral part of this program, addresses emotional, behavioral, and social factors to assist in a successful return to work. It is policy that all clients receive counsel upon starting their program. Counseling sessions are one hour in duration for each client, one to two times a week depending on need as determined by the counselor and client. Clients will also be expected to attend pain management and wellness groups.

Program Continuance

It is an expectation that clients make functional gains to remain in the program.

Collaboration

The main purpose of the program is to assist individuals in improving their quality of life and improve their level of employability. To do this, we work collaboratively with all disciplines involved in a client’s care.

Occupational Therapist
Operations Supervisor, Rehabilitation Services