Saunders Therapy Centers Work Hardening Programs

Regain Function and Return to Work with Saunders!

Saunders Therapy Centers’ mission is to identify and maximize the work-related functional abilities of those injured on the job. Communication is a hallmark of our service. We work closely with the client, physician, Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor (QRC), case manager, insurance adjuster, and employer to fully understand the unique requirements of each case.

Each of our clinics has a large gym area and equipment that allows us to evaluate work-related function and simulate job-related activities for nearly any job. We have excellent staff at all three locations – Bloomington, Maple Grove, and Saint Paul. The clinicians who provide these services are specially trained and very experienced. They understand industry, the workers compensation system, and the unique issues involved in work-related injuries. In addition to Work Hardening, we offer a comprehensive menu of Industrial Rehabilitation and Evaluation services, including work conditioning and functional capacity evaluation (FCE). We have clinics in Bloomington, Saint Paul, and Maple Grove in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Work Hardening client

The Evaluation Process

Before beginning the program, each client participates in a 2-hour evaluation. We obtain a thorough injury history, work history, psychosocial screening and baseline functional assessment covering lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, upper extremity function, and body position capabilities. During this comprehensive evaluation, we get to know your job-related goals, and we will help you identify barriers to successful return to work. We work together with you, your physician, and others as needed (e.g., QRC and/or employer) to develop a custom program. Saunders teams customize the length of the program based on the results of your evaluation, availability of light or modified duty, and program goals. If you are currently working, but with restrictions, we structure the program to supplement what you do on the job.

Work Hardening vs. Work Conditioning

The results of the 2-hour evaluation help us determine which program is most appropriate. Work Hardening and Work Conditioning are very similar, in that they stress general fitness, endurance, and work simulation. The exact combination of these physical restoration elements is customized for each client.

In addition, many clients who have been off work for a long period of time are struggling with non-physical issues such as ongoing pain limiting their function, fear, anxiety, and even anger. If you are experiencing these challenges, you may be appropriate for our Work Hardening program. In addition to all the same physical conditioning and job simulation activities, we use an evidence-based, neuroscience approach that involves pain neuroscience education (PNE) and progressive exposure to activities identified as painful/problematic. Our staff is specifically trained to distinguish between “hurt” and “harm” and we will help you know when it’s safe to work through symptoms, and how to use your body more effectively. We find that this approach of gradual exposure to painful activities has great success with long-lasting pain syndromes. Most clients experience a significant increase in ability to work, even if their symptoms don’t completely go away.

Realistic, Experienced, Non-Biased, Compassionate Treatment