Rehabilitation for Injured Workers: what's available?

Obviously, nobody wants to suffer an occupational injury where they lose time from work, incapable of returning quickly. The employer loses a valuable employee, and the employee loses part of their life, or worse.

Rehabilitation is a loose term which conjures up visions of learning to walk using parallel bars or weight training to regain muscle mass. Mere tools.

Quality rehabilitation begins with quality occupational therapy, a three step process:

  • The individual is evaluated mentally, emotionally and physically to help determine 
realistic personal goals

  • An intervention designed to improve performance towards the long-term goals proposed

  • Evaluation of progress to assure success or indicate revising the plan.

The family or close associates are consulted along the way.


Does the employee want to return? Like the formula one racer who can’t emotionally get back in the car or the rodeo rider who loses his nerve, probably wisely, some employees just cannot bring themselves to return to a hazardous job.

In the evaluation process, the injured decides what their future is: return or retrain.


Physical therapy, weights, walking, learning to speak again, or any of a myriad of rehabilitation techniques can bring the employee back closer to their former selves.
The intervention requires commitment by family, friends, the employer, and the therapist along with the injured. The employee must stick to the game plan to recover the best possible way.


Choosing the best technique to follow is not always an exact science. Perhaps the original evaluation is optimistic, maybe too pessimistic, or just unknown factors are discovered later.

The secret is to stay in the present tense. The injured isn’t three weeks into therapy; they are at a condition today which mandates a specific direction. Maybe not a significant change, or perhaps an entirely different rehabilitation pathway. Optimum outcome relies on the ability to change therapies as needed.

Try not to think in terms of returning your employee to their former self, get the help needed to meet their new goals in life. 

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Further Reading
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