At Adaptive Workplace Solutions we offer Physiotherapy treatment services specifically tailored to return to work and function. We understand the benefits that can be gained from a Physiotherapist with a strong understanding of the return to work system.
These benefits include:
Highly specialised assessments and management plans:
- Initial assessments are more than a standard biomedical tick-list. The Physiotherapist will give the client time to explain their story, and active listening approaches allow the client to feel properly heard;
- Appropriate psychosocial outcome measures taken, with specialised knowledge in addressing factors such as maladaptive pain beliefs and behaviours, lifestyle factors, stress, and unhelpful thinking styles;
- The initial physical assessment will focus on physical tolerance and capacity, rather than taking the biomedical diagnostic approach. The approach taken is that of a mini-Functional Capacity Evaluation (mini-FCE), where a select few tasks are chosen that are specifically relevant to the client’s type of employment or functional needs and they are safely taken through testing to find their maximum tolerance;
- Functional outcome measures are based on the mini-FCE, for example, if the client needs to return to a role with frequent (between 30-60% of workday, or more than 100 repetitions) 3kg pull/pushing forces, then the functional outcome measure will be their ability to perform 100 push/pull movements with 3kg over the 30-minute Physiotherapy session;
- Understanding of the benefits of consulting worksite assessment reports or performing worksite visits for establishing pre-injury duties, and structuring management toward these tasks.
Active and goal-focused treatment approach:
- Exercise management always commences from the first session;
- Emphasis is placed on day-to-day activity levels and tasks, not only on the 10 minutes of home exercises prescribed;
- Plans will always aim towards self-management and education;
- Strong background in musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, Pilates and gym-based exercise training, with a background in working closely with Exercise Physiologists;
- Flexibility to attend the client’s home, gym, or chosen pool to teach a self-management program. Too often the main barrier for a client in completing their self-management is that the environment in which they are taught is too different to their actual training environment;
- All management will incorporate elements of pain education;
- Training in mindful movement approaches to re-engage the client with their body without fear, and with compassion.
Strong understanding of the return to work system:
- Awareness of return-to-work timeframes;
- Detailed knowledge of other relevant services available to clients;
- Knowledge of the common barriers in return to work or return to function and how these may be addressed;
- A critical approach is taken when symptoms and tolerances are not aligning with the clinical picture. There are multiple potential reasons for this including psychosocial factors and these will be assessed, and communicated as deemed necessary;
- Confidence in the central role that Physiotherapy can play in the return to work/function process when fully engaged with the client and their team.
Active communication with all parties:
- Open communication with the claims agent around the functional and return to work goals of Physiotherapy management;
- Continual re-testing of physical capacity and communication with the client’s General Practitioner when it is possible that medical capacity may be upgraded;
- Communication with other members of the treatment team where appropriate and initiative to propose case conferences when barriers are restricting progress.
If you’re currently in a rehabilitation program to recover from an injury, you may be starting to think about how to keep your progress going over the Christmas break. For various reasons it may be hard to access your usual programs over Christmas, either because of business closures or because of personal travel during this time.
Here are some tips to ensure you keep improving your strength and fitness over the Christmas break:
- Ask your providers now whether they will close over Christmas and how long they will be closed for.
- Talk to your physio / exercise physiologist about an exercise program you can do at home to keep your progress going through the break. Think of what would be the best way for you to remember the exercises – you could write them down or even film them on your phone.
- If you usually do weights at the gym and don’t have access to these at home, you can substitute various sized bottles and fill with water – 1L water = 1 kg.
- Simply stay active! While specific exercises targeted at your injury are useful, a lot of research has found non-specific exercise to be effective in rehabilitation and pain reduction. This involves activities that incorporate the full body such as walking, hiking, running, cycling, swimming, dance, boxing, circuit classes, Pilates, the list is endless. Do approach this with caution, for example you may not want to do boxing three weeks after a shoulder surgery, but instead going for regular walks could provide some light movement to prevent shoulder pain and stiffness. Discuss with your health provider what some safe general exercise options could be for you!
- If you are usually doing a hydrotherapy program and your hydro pool has closed, you may be able to access other pools that are open through this time to do a modified program on your own. Ask your hydro provider to help you put together a program you can do independently.
- Set a reminder on your phone/calendar to remind you to do your exercises regularly if your routine is changed over Christmas.
- Have a family member or friend either join you or keep you accountable – tell them specifically what exercise(s) you intend to do and how often.
Do what you can but also don’t forget to chill out, have some fun, spend some quality time with friends and family, and schedule some me-time. You’re allowed to let your rehab slip a little for a week or two and come back refreshed, just be ready to ease back into it in the New Year – taking that one step back at first will have you moving forward much sooner.