Work hardening programs refer to conditioning programs for injured workers who are out of work, or who are working at less than full capacity. CVE has two types of work hardening programs.
1. Clinically based hardening program
Highly specialized physical or cognitive conditioning rehabilitation program that transitions the client from standard rehabilitation to return to work by simulating workplace activities and surroundings in a structured, supportive and monitored environment. The clinical program is best suited for client who has received physical or psychological services and is in the need of further practice for strategies learned. The clinical program is effective for those clients who require a monitored and controlled simulated workplace environment. An initial assessment is completed by an occupational therapist to determine activity tolerances and workplace barriers. A customized program is then formulated which includes a systematic program of gradually progressive, work-related activities performed with the goal of physically and psychologically reconditioning the patient in order to facilitate future return to employment in a competitive workplace setting. The program can be adapted to workers requiring specialized adapted equipment or assistive devices.
2. Community based hardening program
Under the guidance and supervision of an occupational therapist and vocational counsellor an employer is selected from the community to assist in enhancing the client’s competitive workplace skills by allowing them to practice in an actual workplace setting. Best suited for client who have completed all traditional therapies and require more time to build physical, cognitive and/or psychological tolerance. Employers are chosen based on similarities with the injured worker’s pre accident employment tasks and responsibilities. Provides client with opportunity to practice work related activities prior to engaging in a gradual return-to-work program with their pre-injury employer. Also suited for client whom a gradual return to work is not currently possible with their employer.