Rehab Select Blog

Evaluating a Workers’ Comp Physical Therapy Program

Posted by Bobby Stephenson

May 23, 2023 8:00:00 AM

Evaluating a Workers’ Comp Physical Therapy Program

Workers’ comp physical therapy is an essential component in work injury rehab. It helps patients improve mobility, manage pain, prevent future injuries, and return to work as soon as possible while lowering overall costs for insurance payers and employers.  

Nurse case managers play a critical role in selecting and collaborating with a workers’ comp physical therapy program to ensure the best outcomes. But how can you find a trusted provider skilled in delivering these treatments?  

Workers’ comp physical therapy combines physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other disciplines to address the patient as a whole person. It's not just about exercise. It focuses on the quality of life to help the patient return to their routine as quickly as possible.  

Here's what you need to know to evaluate the best inpatient workers’ comp facility. 

Workers' Compensation Physical Therapy Guidelines 

Our workers' comp physical therapy program takes traditional therapy a step further. We analyze the specific job tasks a patient has to perform and their typical daily activities at work. Then, we help them strengthen specific functional areas so they can return to their duties.

We also teach compensatory strategies, which allow workers to return to work to achieve the same outcomes but in different ways, such as performing a task sitting down instead of standing up or shifting their weight often to reduce the strain on their lower back.

By breaking down each component of a job function to help patients adjust how they work, physical therapists help patients plan how they perform a task based on activity tolerance or muscle strength. Even something that doesn't seem physically intense, like sitting in a meeting for a long time, could be demanding for someone recovering from a lower back injury.

Effective workers' comp physical therapy should also help patients reenter the community. For example, a care team member should visit the patient's home and/or workplace to determine if the environments require modification to accommodate the patient's needs.  

The Advantages of Inpatient Therapy for Work Injury Rehab

An inpatient facility can provide patients with treatment five to six days a week and up to three hours a day, compared with the typical two to three times a week with outpatient therapy. Also, patients have access to a multi-disciplinary care team, including trained medical professionals, that can combine different modalities to improve treatment outcomes.

Moreover, an inpatient facility has 24/7 support staff to deliver consistent care to its patients. Our care team develops trust with our patients, educates them about their treatment protocols, encourages them to build on previous success, and helps them comply with their physician's instructions to accelerate recovery.

Effective around-the-clock inpatient treatment can go a long way — the comprehensive care plan builds a solid foundation for patients to develop their skills. Some of our patients recover so well that they don't require outpatient therapy after discharge, while others may need only minor fine-tuning to adjust to their daily routines.

Download the eBook: A Guide To Vocational Rehabilitation For Employers &  Employees

Key Questions a Nurse Case Manager Should Ask a Work Injury Rehab Facility

Here are some key questions to help you evaluate a workers' comp physical therapy program:

  1. Will the patient receive treatment from the same therapist in each discipline?

    Consistency helps advance the care plan for optimal outcomes because you don't have to reinvent the wheel whenever a different therapist takes over. 
  2. What equipment do you have available?

    High-tech equipment and new techniques often help improve treatment outcomes.  
  3. What are the frequency and duration of treatment sessions?

    Five to seven days of treatment each week often help accelerate recovery and improve outcomes. 
  4. What is your staff's availability?

    24/7 support in an inpatient setting helps ensure patients get the care they need when they need it.  
  5. Does the facility have a communication plan, and can you attend weekly meetings and get written updates two to three times a week?

    Constant communication with the care team gives you the visibility you need to keep insurance payers and employers up to date – and ensure that your communication with the patient is effective. 
  6. Does the work injury rehab facility provide discharge planning and weekly communications?

    Close communication between therapists and the nurse case manager is the hallmark of an effective program. Your facility should work with you to create a weekly care schedule and support you with discharge planning.   
  7. Can your therapists support community reentry or evaluate the workplace setting?

    These services help the patient reach maximum recovery after discharge.

Find a Top-Notch Work Injury Rehab Program in Alabama

Therapists in an excellent program are committed to superior service delivery. They work with patients one-on-one to achieve the best outcomes. They take the time to get to know each patient and create a personalized plan and compensation strategy to address their unique circumstances. 

The facility should have extensive experience supporting nurse case managers and addressing employers' concerns, such as how an effective workers' comp program can help employees regain productivity as quickly as possible.  

That's why at Rehab Select, we not only provide top-notch workers' comp physical therapy in Alabama. We also help nurse case managers and employers navigate compensation claims and plan for a patient's return to work.  

Contact us or schedule a time to meet to see how we can work with you to deliver the highest standards in worker's comp rehabilitation. 


A Guide to Vocational Rehabilitation for Employers and Employees

Topics: Physical Therapy, Workers Compensation