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“Thanks for all of the help getting me back to work. The whole body approach is awesome. I have learned a lot of new skills to keep me healthy, not only for my shoulder, but my hip and neck too.”


Northwest Return to Work Hours of Operation:

Days: Monday—Friday
Time: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Work Conditioning

Work Conditioning is a structured therapy program that focuses on improving a worker’s strength, endurance and body mechanics. The goal is to assist a worker in returning to his or her job with minimal functional restrictions. The duration of this program is 5 days per week, 2 hours per day, consisting of 1 hour of physical therapy and 1 hour of occupational therapy. Typical programs last 4-6 weeks.

Work Hardening

Work Hardening is a more intensive structured therapy program in which the physical activities of a specific job are simulated to prepare a worker to return to a predetermined occupation. The duration of this program is 5 days per week beginning with 4 hours per day with a gradual increase to 8 hours per day over a 4-6 week period. Our Work Hardening program is provided by physical and occupational therapists and is CARF-accredited.

Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE, PBPCE)

An “FCE” is an evaluation consisting of an interview, physical screen, formal assessment tools and work related activities that are distraction-based in nature. An FCE is typically used to provide the best available measure of a client’s ability to meet the physical requirements of predetermined vocational goals (JOI, TSJ, retraining). This assessment is also utilized as a means to test for baseline abilities prior to formal planning or as a determiner of a client’s ability to work “any occupation.” The “any occupation” assessments are more commonly used in long- or short-term disability cases. In addition, an FCE provides information on a client’s engagement in the process by assessing effort, consistency and their reliability of pain and disability reports. This conversation can provide robust information related to physical limitations and disabilities, appropriate next steps in treatment, and also as a snapshot of performance for further adjudication. The duration of this evaluation is approximately 6 hours.

It is the opinion of Northwest Return to Work that an FCE should be provided by well-trained clinicians dedicated to this type of assessment and who are able to demonstrate certification and advanced training. These evaluations should be flexible in that they are directed to meet the needs of the referral source, as many FCE “systems” are rigid and do not accommodate individual situations. We believe the best evaluators follow the “Thinking Evaluator” model which will always best answer the referral questions posed. Click here to find out more about our FCE evaluation process.

Brain Injury Functional Capacity Evaluation

Brain injuries are injuries to the head that can occur by concussion or mild, moderate of severe traumatic brain injuries. They require specialized assessment. The goal of a functional brain injury assessment is to determine the effects and vocational implications of such injuries, as well as to recommend potential treatment options.

Similar to above FCEs, Brain Injury FCEs can provide objective information about multiple aspects of cognitive function including safety, ability to follow instructions and memory. This testing will incorporate members of the clinic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team as determined appropriate in staffing with the referring agency and the lead assessing therapist. Testing can be completed in a one or two day format. Additional evaluation fees and authorization will be required for each discipline added (neuropsychology, speech language pathology, specialty OT or PT evaluation).

Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP)

“PGAP” is a structured activities treatment program utilized to help injured workers reduce the impact of their disability, increase physical activity and restore function at a level consistent with pre-injury status. A trained coach assists in establishing, monitoring and recording pre-established goals, which focus on community re-integration and transition back to the workforce. The PGAP clinician will provide a workbook with weekly assignments for the client to complete. This program consists of one 1-hour session each week for up to a period of 10 weeks. PGAP can be used as a stand-alone treatment, but when appropriate, may also be paired with physical therapy, occupational therapy or a work conditioning program to help accelerate a client’s progress.

Brain Injury Rehabilitation Therapy (BIRT)

At Northwest Return to Work, Brain Injury Rehabilitation Therapy (BIRT) utilizes outpatient treatment that is integrated, comprehensive, and evidence-based to meet the unique needs of each individual and reduce the effects of their injury. Northwest Return to Work offers integrated care provided by physicians, psychologists, neuropsychologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and vocational rehabilitation counselors. Treatment is tailored to provide each individual an opportunity to reclaim his or her independence, self-efficacy, quality of life, and productivity.

Our BIRT program is CARF accredited and an approved Washington State Labor and Industries provider.

Interdisciplinary Pain Management Program/Structured Intensive Multidisciplinary Pain Program (SIMP)

An Interdisciplinary Pain Management Program/ SIMP is an intensive daily 4-week treatment program that draws from the expertise of psychologists, medical doctors, occupational therapists, physical therapists and vocational rehabilitation counselors. The focus is to equip the participant with as many tools as possible to manage chronic pain, improve functional capacities and reintegrate into both the community and workforce. Whereas this program has traditionally been used after all traditional medical interventions have failed to improve patient symptoms, studies indicate that early utilization of this treatment modality can be much more effective in reducing the impact of disability and the utilization of medical services.

Our Pain Management program is CARF accredited and an approved Washington State Labor and Industries provider.

Work Injury and Occupational Physician Services

A work injury physician or occupational care physician is a WA licensed health care professional, who acts as an attending physician in occupational healthcare for WA Labor and Industry.

Work injury physicians are responsible for the practical management and overall planning, coordination, and monitoring of the treatment implementation and effectiveness in occupational rehabilitation following a work related injury.

At Northwest Return To Work, in addition to participating in our pain management program, our physicians are also able to evaluate and comprehensively manage an injured workers’ health and work ability in relation to the requirements of their work. Our physicians diagnose and treat work-related illnesses/injuries in addition to assessing and directing the injured workers’ need for rehabilitation.

Our physicians work together with the injured worker, other occupational health care personnel and in co-operation with Labor and Industry representatives, vocational counselors, legal representatives and workplace representatives for the good of employees’ health and safety. Our physicians understand that guiding our clients through this sometimes complex role as an “Injured worker” as efficiently as possible will prompt the restoration of not only their role as worker, but will also help stabilize their other life roles (family members, community members, etc) and help prevent the development of long-term disability.

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