Changing to an Outcome-focused Program Improves Return to Work Outcomes
This pilot study investigated whether a simple statistical analysis of selected intake data in the charts of work-hardening clients could differentiate those clients who returned to work from those who did not. Data from 24 workers' compensation clients were examined. Perceived pain on initial evaluation was the only statistically significant variable (p<0.01). Lower pain levels correlated with a successful return to work. Statistical trends (p<0.10) suggested that a lower hourly wage, a higher occupational metabolic equivalent level, and a marital status of married or cohabitating correlated with a successful return to work. Data were used to describe a client at risk - one with high levels of pain, who was not in a physically demanding Job and lacked social support. Program recommendations were made to address these issues. It was concluded that as other work-hardening centers respond to the call for better outcome assessment, a similar design process could be used.