Work Hardening Program Gives Man His Life Back

Sustaining a potentially career-ending injury is usually a frightening and anxiety-provoking situation. When workers are injured on the job, there is a place they can go to gain the strength and skills they need to successfully return to work right here at St. Mary’s: The Carondelet Injury Prevention & Management Work Hardening/Conditioning Program offered in the Outpatient Rehab Department.
When Victor was in a bad motor vehicle accident while driving his company vehicle at work, he sustained injuries to his head, neck, back and shoulders. After treatment and physical therapy to treat the acute pain, he was referred to Work Hardening and began his program of exercises and activities designed to safely return him to work as a Maintenance Worker. The program can include stretching, cardiovascular and strengthening exercises, and job simulation such as performing the exact duties encountered on the job. Victor was tasked with refurbishing the outdoor work simulation area in Outpatient Rehab, and under the supervision of his physical therapists, proceeded to improve the small building used for construction training by putting new sides and a new roof on, and painting it. In the process, Victor gained confidence with his skills and was able to learn how to manage any lingering pain or weakness in a way that allowed him to work safely and avoid additional injury.
The Work Hardening/Conditioning Program is part of an Industrial Rehabilitation sub-specialty in Outpatient Rehabilitation. For over 25 years, St. Mary’s Industrial Rehab programs have an excellent record of getting injured workers back on the job. We have helped thousands of individuals significantly improve their physical functioning so they could safely resume their careers, which in turn lessens the financial and personal costs associated with prolonged recovery or inability to return to prior/similar work. In fact, 82% of clients demonstrated improved physical functioning, and 89% of these individuals were able to perform all functional job duties upon completion of the program. In many ways, our clients are given back a life they potentially saw slip away on the day they were injured, and this makes all the difference in the world for people just like Victor, who says, “It wasn’t just exercise; this program focused on what I needed to do to go back to work and my life.”
By Veronica “Ronnie” Crider, PT