Case Study 2

The Challenge

Following a back injury in May 2011, and subsequent back surgery in July 2011, this injured worker was struggling to return to his pre-injury duties as an industrial machine operator. He was lacking strength, guidance and motivation to return to a physically demanding job.

The Process

The insurance company contacted Rehab Options Work Conditioning to conduct a task analysis for the workplace and subsequent functional capacity assessment for this worker.

The task analysis provided a comprehensive description of all the pre-injury duties and available suitable duties within the workplace for this injured worker. By completing a functional capacity assessment, the current functional abilities of this injured worker were determined. With this information, suitable duties within the worker's restrictions were identified and the injured worker was able to return to his normal hours within the workplace completing light duties.

The Result

As the worker improved his capacity, through exercise physiology treatment, designed with his pre-injury duties goals in mind, he was able to upgrade through the available suitable duties until he eventually became capable of returning to his normal pre-injury duties. By identifying suitable duties, the worker realised that he was capable of doing light work and by taking small steps was able to then achieve his goals of returning to his pre-injury job as a machine operator.

The benefits of returning injured workers to the workplace as soon as possible are both physically and emotionally important. Research has shown that workers who return to work sooner in some capacity have a more positive long term outcome to their overall injury status and recovery. Return to work is therefore an important treatment goal, and determining suitable duties and a worker's individual capacity become a valuable resource.

What the client says:

Sitting at home doing nothing was degrading and depressing. Through work conditioning, I was able to return to work on identified suitable duties whilst I improved my strength to return to my job. Physically and emotionally, I don't know where I would be if someone hadn't stepped in and guided my return to work. As a bonus, they gave me exercises to continue with for the rest of my working career to prevent anything like this happening again.