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Overview of Outpatient Therapy Options for Treating the Injured Worker

presented by Michael Gerg

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Occupational and physical therapy professionals that work in outpatient settings treat many patients that are still of working age, yet many feel uncomfortable in addressing the components of the patient’s job, even in instances where the payment source is Workers’ Compensation. This course will discuss the various options available to the therapist when attempting to ensure if their client can return to work or assist the physician in determining what limitations the patient may have during the treatment continuum.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Michael Gerg, DOT, OTR/L, CHT, CEES, CWCE

    Dr. Michael J. Gerg, DOT, OTR/L, CHT, CEES, CWCE is the Program Director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Harcum College. He is a Board Certified Hand Therapist, Work Capacity Evaluator, and Ergonomics Evaluation Specialist and a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University School of Liberal Arts and the Temple University School of Allied Health Professions. In the past, Dr. Gerg has worked for Magee Rehabilitation, Temple University Hospital, and Valley Health in Winchester, Virginia where he helped to build a successful industrial wellness and ergonomic consulting practice. After beginning his career in mental health, he has gained extensive clinical practice experience in a variety of adult physical disability settings including outpatient hand therapy, acute care, acute rehabilitation, long-term care, and outpatient rehabilitation. He has had full-time academic appointments at Harcum College and Temple University and has been an adjunct faculty member at Shenandoah University in the Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Training programs. His special interests include hand therapy, ergonomic worksite evaluation, legal expert consulting, industrial wellness, injury prevention research and training (primarily back injuries in healthcare workers), and functional capacity evaluation (FCE). His research interests include ergonomics, community access for persons with disabilities, and industrial wellness. He has published research on the ergonomics of text messaging as well as a book chapter on carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Gerg continues to be involved in clinical hand therapy practice in the Philadelphia metropolitan region and successfully owns and operates a small ergonomic consulting and legal expert practice, WorkWell Associates, LLC. Some of his previous and current clients include the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, Carpenter Technology Corporation, Trex, Inc., Toray Plastics, Kraft Foods, and the Philadelphia Department of Occupational Safety and Health (Philaposh). He has worked extensively with injured and disabled workers of various levels of ability to assist them in pursuing a means of earning a living that is also meaningful and fulfilling. He previously served as the Chairperson of the Work and Industry Special Interest Section of the American Occupational Therapy Association. When not working, he finds biking, hiking, traveling, and freelance travel writing fulfilling.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. The History of Therapeutic Intervention with the Injured Worker and Current Treatment Trends

    1. The History of Therapeutic Intervention with the Injured Worker and Current Treatment Trends

    This chapter discusses occupational and physical therapy’s history of intervention with the injured worker. Current trends in worker rehabilitation and public policy will be discussed.

  2. What Can Disrupt a Person’s Ability to Work?

    2. What Can Disrupt a Person’s Ability to Work?

    This chapter holistically explores what factors can disrupt a person’s ability to work. Physical, psychosocial, and sociocultural causes can all be factors that limit a person’s ability to work after an injury or an illness.

  3. The Various Types of Available Interventions

    3. The Various Types of Available Interventions

    This chapter informs the attendee of all of the possible interventions that an outpatient therapy practitioner can offer. The differences between work hardening and work conditioning will be explored as well as job task analysis, functional capacity evaluation, and ergonomics.

  4. If You Build It, What Materials Would You Need to Perform Various Interventions?

    4. If You Build It, What Materials Would You Need to Perform Various Interventions?

    This chapter discusses the equipment requirements needed to perform the various interventions discussed in Chapter 3. The instructor details what a practitioner should consider having in their repertoire of available assessments and equipment. Space requirements for different programs are also discussed.

  5. Beyond the Clinic: Proactive Workplace Interventions to Prevent Future Injuries

    5. Beyond the Clinic: Proactive Workplace Interventions to Prevent Future Injuries

    This final chapter addresses how the therapy professional can approach employers that may be interested in looking at preventing common workplace injuries. A population level approach to prevention intervention will be discussed. Lastly, the course will conclude with an overview of performing ergonomic interventions, developing pre/post-work screenings, developing stretching programs, and creating job rotation schedules.