RTW collaboration

Unlocking Success through Collaborative RTW Strategies. A Case Study

In the realm of rehabilitation and return to work (RTW), every customer has a unique story to tell. These stories are the tapestry of our work at Specialised Health, so we love to tell them! 


Today, we dive into one such tale, that of “Mr. Smith”, and explore how collaboration and communication became the cornerstones of his journey toward recovery and a successful return to work.


The Starting Point 


It all began with an injury. An ACL & MCL tear in his right knee sustained while playing basketball, which caused a sharp halt to life as he knew it. This injury left him with excruciating pain, joint stiffness, and reduced proprioception – a far cry from the active lifestyle he once enjoyed, which included recreational basketball and regular gym visits.


Three months post-injury, Mr. Smith was facing a dual challenge – not only did he yearn to return to his favourite recreational activities, but he also had a demanding job that required him to operate drilling rigs and cranes. Despite these hurdles, Mr. Smith was set in his desire to return to his job. He communicated his determination to his insurer, who recognized the need for specialised (and early!) intervention. This led to his referral to exercise physiology, marking the beginning of his journey towards recovery.


The Road to Recovery


When Mr Smith first met our Exercise Physiologist, his functional capacity was a world apart from the demands of his pre-injury job. His rehabilitation thus far had been limited to gentle pool exercises, and his confidence was at an all-time low for anything outside of the pool. 


His EP stepped in and designed a multi-faceted program, to address his diverse needs. It was a journey that took him out of the pool, focusing on essential elements such as strength, proprioception, and overall conditioning. Not only did his EP focus on these basics, but additionally the utilisation of innovative techniques, like blood flow restriction training – which proved to be tremendously beneficial.


Week after week, Mr. Smith attended supervised sessions, and not only did he build physical strength, his confidence grew also. By the end of the program, his Physical Self-Function Scale (PSFS) increased by 125%, reflecting his enhanced ability to perform daily tasks. His quality of life improved by an astonishing 138%, and his knee function soared by 84%.From initially struggling to walk 300 metres, Mr. Smith gained the confidence to complete the task effortlessly. Even the once daunting challenges of squatting and stepping up onto the crane became achievable milestones in his journey to recovery.


Collaboration for the Win


Aside from the exercise prescription, at the core of Mr. Smith’s successful return to work was his EP’s commitment to collaboration with all parties involved in his rehabilitation. The communication efforts included:


  • Regular written updates that kept everyone informed about Mr. Smith’s progress and any emerging obstacles
  • Worksite visits that offered valuable insights into the specific demands of Mr. Smith’s role
  • Case Conferences with all involved parties facilitated comprehensive planning and decision-making along the way. 


All in all, the ongoing communication was instrumental in keeping everyone on the same page. This was especially important when it came time for Mr Smith to engage in a gradual return to work. Which he was able to do successfully at the end of his program!


Onwards and Upwards


As Mr. Smith continues his journey independently, he is now looking forward to not only excelling back at work but also getting back into recreational basketball and his regular gym routine. With the support of Specialised Health he is ready to face the future with confidence. 


In his words: 

“Great communication too. Smart and relatable. The information and technology that was used during my rehab was great. I learned a lot from my injury and the insight from Javery. The results spoke for themselves.”

Author: Tessa Nielsen 
Clinical Exercise Physiologist and
Content Creator at Specialised Health

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