Emergency Department

202 S. Park St.
Madison, WI 53715

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UnityPoint Health - Madison

Return to Work

How can Return to Work benefit me?

Return to Work (RTW) is a specialty group within Meriter's Therapy department. RTW is comprised of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapist assistants, who can help you through the continuum of care required after a work-related injury. We specialize in getting to know you and your job, so we can tailor your rehab and return you to work as quickly as possible. We have work simulation equipment that measures what you can safely do to return to work with restrictions while we continue to rehab you until you can get back to work with full function.

Our therapists are specialized in various orthopedic injuries such as hand injuries, fractures, sprains, and strains. As well as neurological injuries such as concussions. Whether you are an office worker who slipped in the parking lot and sprained your ankle, or you are a firefighter who injured your back pulling a fire hose, we have the techniques, equipment, and expertise to get you back to work.

How are work-related injuries different from non-work related injures?

If you are injured on the job you are covered by workers compensation1. Workers compensation provides a few unique rehabilitation options to get you back to work, faster.

  • Work Hardening/Work Conditioning - This is a specialty service that is billable to workers compensation. Work Hardening/Conditioning comes toward the end of your rehab when you are almost ready to return to work. Typically, during the course or recovering from your injury, the rest of your body can become deconditioned. Work Hardening/Conditioning can help get your whole body ready to return to work to reduce the chance of re-injury or new injury.

  • Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) - In the event that you are not able to fully return to work, a Functional Capacity Evaluation can provide you with comprehensive and long-term work restrictions to provide you with a safe context to return to work. FCEs are billable to workers compensation, and occasionally to law firms, liability insurance, and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation

I am scheduled for an FCE. What can I expect?

An FCE is a comprehensive functional examination of your abilities. The goal is to be able to determine what you can safely and sustainably do should you return to work. The therapist will take a detailed and thorough history of your injury from onset until present. The therapist will examine your strength, flexibility, endurance, functional abilities, and tolerance to various activity. The exam can last up to four hours in length and we recommend you come prepared in exercise clothing. 

I was not injured on the job, but my injury is preventing me from working. Can RTW help me? 

Yes! It is common for an injury that occurs outside of work to affect your ability to perform your job. For example, you injure your back while shoveling snow and now you are unable to stand all day at your job as a line-cook. While you are not covered by workers compensation in this case, we are still able to provide a Work Restriction Evaluation. A Work Restriction Evaluation is a billable service to your private insurance that comprises of a typical physical or occupational therapy evaluation in addition to work simulation testing. This information will be able to provide your physician with information to determine appropriate short-term work restrictions. This also serves as the beginning of a course of physical or occupational therapy should therapy be deemed appropriate.