Unique to the Chattanooga market, Occupational Rehabilitation is the only physical therapy program dedicated entirely to worker's comp injury management. Our Occupational Rehabilitation Department bridges the gap between medical professionals and employers by bringing the expertise of the rehab professional on-site and acute injury management into the clinic. The Department focuses on building relationships with the individuals who oversee a company's work comp program. The goal of this department has been to ensure the safe and appropriate return to work for the injured worker by targeting early intervention, job placement, and work-based therapy.
Early intervention is defined as the process that is in place on day one of the worker's first report of injury. At this time, first aid measures may be sufficient to prevent an OSHA recordable event. Once a referral is made to Occupational Health Services, the physician determines if medical intervention or acute injury management is needed.
Our Occupational Rehabilitation department utilizes functional job descriptions to define the physical demand requirements of the job. Many job descriptions have been downloaded into SYSTOC for reference. Then, a job matching protocol is implemented that determines the work tasks that can be performed or modified in early return to work. The purpose is to assess the injured worker's abilities, not their restrictions. Ongoing job match upgrades are performed until the worker is back at full or maximum duty. Job function tests have been developed from the functional job descriptions and are used to measure the safe capability of the worker. This promotes confidence in the worker's ability to perform the task.
The staff of licensed physical therapists evaluates the individual and develops a plan to ensure the safe and appropriate return to work with early intervention, job placement, and work based therapy. The therapists work closely with the physician and the employer to maximize work potential.
Other Components of the Program Include:
- Functional Capacity Evaluations
- On site Ergonomic Assessments
- Job Analysis
- Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
- Stretching Programs / Worker Fitness
- Pre-Hire Strength and Endurance Testing
In the clinic, the job description defines the work functions that the therapist should emphasize in the treatment plan. The focus of the worker's improvement is related to job readiness and not focused on pain. Work based therapy incorporates clinical methods and job function testing to ensure worker safety by testing and modifying work ability.
Prevention of work related injuries is the key to reducing employer costs. To reinforce healthy work habits, the physical therapist instructs the worker in flexibility, postural awareness, body mechanics, and safe lifting techniques in order to reduce the incidence of repeat injury. Rehab professionals are also available for on site company-wide education and training programs.