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How to Decide the Best Location for Treating Injured Workers

Posted by Danny Sanchez, PT, CEAS on November 14, 2016

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For years, there was never a question about where injured workers should go to receive treatment. If their doctor prescribed physical therapy, they went to a specialized clinic. PT clinics were the only locations that could offer proper medical equipment and personnel.

Today, many injured workers still travel to offsite clinics to receive their physical therapy. But there are inherent problems with this. Among them:

  • It is inconvenient. Traveling to clinic appointments can be time-consuming. It can be an imposition on family members. It’s tempting to skip the hassle and stay home. This lack of compliance prolongs recovery and potential return to work.
  • PT-related travel and transportation costs are a significant workers’ comp expense for employers.
  • It can be difficult to schedule appointments at busy PT clinics. Sometimes injured workers have to wait just to get started. They may have to wait during therapy sessions, too. Their therapist may be juggling several patients at once. These problems can also prolong recovery.
  • Clinics cannot provide truly personalized treatment. They can use the worker’s job description to simulate tasks. But they cannot replicate the worker’s actual job. Or see the real conditions of their working environment. These details matter.
  • Communication about the worker’s progress can be slow or garbled.

There is a better location: the worksite

On-site physical therapy turns the traditional model on its head. Instead of sending injured workers to an offsite clinic, PT comes to them. Right to their jobsite. The mobile physical therapist schedules directly with the injured worker. And they work with them one-on-one for the entire session. It’s convenient.

The mobile physical therapist can see first-hand what the worker’s job entails. And how that job is performed at your workplace. There is no generic treatment. Each person’s PT plan of care is 100% tailored to their job. And their injury. They can recover faster. And avoid future re-injury. That’s because the therapist teaches them to perform tasks in safer ways. 

The physical therapist brings whatever tools they need for each treatment session. Employers don’t have to do anything but provide a small space for the session. It is easy to see that workers are attending sessions. Supervisors can even drop in to cheer them on. Injured workers stay engaged with their company, their job and their co-workers. Communication and engagement are key components of an effective Return to Work program.

And if the injured worker is not yet ready for at-work PT? The mobile physical therapist simply goes to their home. No delays in starting therapy. No hassle for the employee or their family. And as soon as they have recovered enough, PT moves to their workplace. Return to work is underway, without missing a beat.

All of these advantages add up nicely. They benefit both injured workers and employers. They improve morale and return to work rates. And they save money. No wonder workers’ comp managers are so excited about the concept of mobile PT. 

Could mobile PT boost your workers’ comp results?

This is such a hot topic, the upcoming NWCD conference is devoting a session to it. It’s called, “Emerging On-Site Physical Therapy Treatment Models.” You won’t want to miss this one – 10am, Friday, December 2. You’ll hear directly from the Program Director at one of the nation’s leading luxury hotel chains. Her company reduced PT costs by 30% -- with improved compliance – by switching to mobile physical therapy.

And there’s more good news, if you’re a last-minute conference registrant. Sign up for NWCDC by November 28 and use the promo code SPK16, and you can save $100.

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