The Work Hardening Program is a comprehensive occupational therapy program that builds strength, endurance and develops positive work attitudes and behaviors by simulating the work environment. It is an intensive program in which participants attend daily therapy for six weeks from four to eight hours per day. This program teaches and monitors safe use of tools and body mechanics to build new work habits and prevent re-injury.
The Work Hardening program is usually for people with serious injuries or de-conditioning who have been out of work for an extended period of time.
Its individualized program of activities may include any or all of the following:
- Strengthening and stretching exercises
- Work simulation
- Back school
- Aerobic exercises
- Nutrition and stress management strategies for building healthful habits
- Aquatic therapy
- Objective assessments on computerized strength testing devices
The program’s goal is to help the participants return to work. A majority of the participants either return to their old job or are able to go to work at a new job that is more in line with their physical capabilities.
Our specialized staff for the Work Hardening program consists of an occupational therapist and a therapy technician devoted to caring for this population. Participant progress is monitored daily by our therapist and programs are written specifically for the needs of each individual. Bi-weekly appointments are scheduled with the participant and their care provider at the Alaska Spine Institute to monitor progress as well.
This program is an excellent way for employees to decrease their risk of re-injury through improved body mechanics training and physical conditioning. It will also give the employee a greater insight as to their physical capabilities, work attitudes, confidence, and pain management strategies.