The Occupational Health Special Interest (OHSIG) of the Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapy has released an updated version of “Managing an Acute Injury That Limits Work Participation.” The document’s intent is to address how Physical Therapists can better manage musculoskeletal injuries that occur on the job, which frequently result in physical impairment and job-related activity restrictions. This includes providing effective interventions as early as possible, designing work specific therapeutic activity programs and communicating openly and effectively with all stakeholders involved in the patient’s claim.
The paper outlines ten concepts that should be taken into consideration when Physical Therapists are managing an acutely injured worker, all driven through an evidence-based medicine approach. Some of the most important highlights include understanding the patient’s physical demands at work, progression to functional training to improve tolerance for work tasks and addressing modifiable psychosocial risk factors that may prolong the injured worker’s recovery. The paper also addresses the importance of the Physical Therapist providing ergonomic coaching to their patient in order to avoid future injuries.
The paper concludes by stating that in order to achieve the most cost-effective outcomes, physical therapy interventions should be initiated early, along with promoting quick return to work strategies, whether it be normal duties or modified work. Physical Therapists should also be skilled in early identification of claims with red flags and psychosocial risk factors that could delay care and may need additional interventions or referrals.
All Physical Therapists that treat Workers’ Compensation patients should be familiar with OHSIG’s concepts on managing acute work-related injuries. At Results Physiotherapy we ensure our Physical Therapists understand the nuances of handling Worker’s Compensation claims. This is demonstrated in our Focus on Therapeutic Outcomes data, which states we are closing Workers’ Compensation claims 13 calendar days faster than the national average.
To read the entire OHSIG paper visit the link below.
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