Greater Manchester


Work Hardening Programme

Work Hardening Programmes

What is a Return to Work and Work Hardening Programme?

The aim of this programme is to return an employee back to work who has been absent from work for a significant amount of time. It is specifically designed for; – employees who have been off work due to a musculoskeletal complaint or on restrictions for longer than 12 weeks and did not respond to medical/ conventional physiotherapy management or employees who suffer recurrent periods of sickness absence (due to musculoskeletal complaints). The programme consists of a comprehensive half day assessment followed by five weekly half day rehabilitation sessions.

What is involved in the Return to Work and Work Hardening Assessment?

The employee is assessed in great detail for approximately 4 – 5 hours covering all of the below; –

Measurement of an employee’s current medical, physical, psychosocial and psychological capability against their job and life demands to determine whether the patient will benefit from an inter-disciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation programme.

Numerous questions about any difficulties the employee may be having at work or home. The employee will also be required to complete questionnaires to screen for psychological or social risks of long term pain and sickness absence (known as psychosocial yellow flags).

A physical examination to assess joint movement, muscle strength and function.

What happens after the Return to Work and Work Hardening Assessment?

Following the assessment, we will send a comprehensive report of our findings and recommendations to the referrer who has requested the assessment. This will include; fitness for work statement, return to work programme (dates, work hours, restrictions), prognosis, treatment recommendations, goals of treatment and details of onward referral.

If suitable, and agreed by the employer and employee, the employee will progress to the rehabilitation programme.

What does the Return to Work and Work Hardening Programme consist of?

This consists of five weekly sessions (4 hours each day) of a one to one multi-disciplinary functional restoration programme. This includes;

Work Conditioning/ Hardening programme: This aspect of the programme is similar to a fitness programme but individually tailored for the employee and reflective of their needs in work.

Cognitive behavioural therapy: This part of the programme teaches psychological strategies to help address maladaptive psychological and behavioural problems.

Goal setting and return to work planning: Detailed goal setting and return to work plans are monitored and modified on a weekly basis.

Following each weekly session an update report is sent to the referrer. This will include; the employees response to treatment, update on their fitness for work and return to work programme (dates, work hours, restrictions) and progression of their rehabilitation goals.

We strongly advise this programme is thoroughly discussed and consented to by the employee before the programme has commenced.

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