6:04 am October 29, 2019

Nurse or Physical Therapist for Workplace Injuries?
How to Choose

Source: Jeff Paddock

How to ChooseFor many companies, the automatic assumption is that a nurse or off-site provider is the best way to meet employee needs. But a deeper look tells a different story about what can have an impact.

Typical injuries will always require medical care, such as bloodwork, MRIs, doctor visits, imaging, surgery and meds, and will always be serviced off-site. Typically, they make up 70-80% of the medical spend.

For an impact on the remaining 20-30%, what’s often overlooked is the area of physical therapy (PT). Successful PT programs meet multiple needs, both reducing treatment costs and building prevention for a double impact. Plus, PT, especially when onsite, improves the employee experience by reducing worries and uncertainty as well as prolonged absences from work.

Onsite PTs create a stellar employee experience by:

  • Providing immediate triage. Workers are not always sure if they are actually injured, and may continue working to their own detriment — aggravating a minor discomfort into a major physical problem. An onsite PT can help with early assessment.
  • Recommending work modifications. Injuries are seldom an all-or-nothing event. Onsite physical therapists can advise ergonomic changes or adaptations that will allow workers to continue at their jobs while protecting the healing process.
  • Managing onsite treatment. Onsite PTs can provide treatment right at the work facility, prescribe activities that rebuild strength and promote healing, and counsel workers on what to expect during treatment.
  • Making knowledgeable referrals. When physician treatment is necessary, onsite physical therapists can refer workers to appropriate physicians/specialists. Most important, they can provide the consulting physician with all relevant information regarding the injured worker’s situation — something workers may have difficulty doing on their own.
  • Offering continuous coaching. Onsite PTs can monitor newly-healed workers to help prevent their injuries from reoccurring, and observe workers across the company to help them solve problems with performing tasks. By frequently visiting work sites, therapists get to know workers and their jobs and are accepted as members of the team. In addition, they develop a rapport with supervisors and are welcomed to discuss preventative ideas.
  • Physical therapists are used to collaborating with other healthcare professionals, and often work hand-on-hand with occupational health nurses at employer worksites to maximize the effectiveness of early intervention & conservative care.

Due to these advantages, more and more companies are choosing onsite injury prevention programs using PT’s. As you assess your 2020 program, WorkWell can help run the numbers through a proven data model and offer insights on what works (and what doesn’t). Contact us today.


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