BY RUSSELL HIXSON - Starting this month, the Physiotherapy Association of B.C. (PABC) and WorkSafeBC are trying a new model to get injured workers back on the job.
The plan has physiotherapists gathering information about the patient’s work from their employer to customize treatment.
“Injured workers want to return to work as soon and as safely as they can,” said Jason Coolen, president of the PABC.
“By giving workers access to physiotherapy on the date of their injury and having physiotherapists work directly with employers to help get workers back on the job, the new rehabilitation model focuses on the injured worker’s function – rather than the dysfunction of their injury.”
He said the model puts injured workers and patient care first, and gives physiotherapists more involvement in return-to-work planning.
“Physiotherapists play a very important role in helping workers recover from work-related injuries,” said Andrew Montgomerie, WorkSafeBC’s director of financial services & health care programs.
“WorkSafeBC is pleased with the new service agreement with B.C.’s physiotherapists, which will support safe and timely return to work for those injured workers requiring these services.”
Officials said the new agreement helps PABC and WorkSafeBC to remove some of the barriers to treatment for injured workers.
Also as part of the new plan, no referrals from a doctor are necessary and assessments to patients are free.
Dave Baspaly, president of the Council of Construction Associations, said he is optimistic about the new plan and is looking forward to seeing if it works out.
“Anything that gets a worker back faster, you are going to find the employment side is 100 per cent behind it,” he said. Baspaly added that a major challenge with worker injuries is that the long wait to get back on the job can often leave them disconnected with their employer.
He said if the plan gets them healed faster, they are more likely to maintain that vital connection.