Occupational health osteopaths often work as treating practitioners, assisting injured clients to return to work safely. All treatments offered by occupational health osteopaths aim to assist in recovery from a workplace injury, prevent long term workforce absence or disability.
Occupational health osteopaths are registered under state and territory worker’s compensation schemes as participating practitioners. They work with worker’s compensation agents, private insurers, employers and other health practitioners as part of an interconnected network.
An assessment performed by an occupational health osteopath may include the following clinical components:
Assessment of your work capacity and the impact of your workplace injury
Clinical outcome measurement to determine how treatment might improve your capacity to undertake workplace tasks
Assessment of circumstances that led to your injury. Biological, psychological and social contributing factors, the requirements of your work role, and other characteristics of your workplace will be reviewed to identify factors that may have resulted in injury
Development of a return to work plan to meet requirements of your worker’s compensation injury management scheme and your rehabilitation goals
Discussion of modifications, equipment or adjustments that may improve your prospects of successfully returning to the workplace
Discussion of your eligibility for ongoing entitlements under your worker’s compensation scheme and where limitations may apply
Discussion of recovery timeframes, symptoms or sensations associated with your injury, referring to medical advice, work related reports and your individual history
When appropriate, discussion of alternative work roles or career change. Any related skills needed in a new workplace will be discussed.
Occupational health osteopaths provide a range of injury management approaches to assist rehabilitation. Manual therapy may be provided, if appropriate to assist your recovery.
Instruction in strategies to safely manage activities, gradually resume pre-injury tasks or improve work related functional skills may be provided.
Exercises may be prescribed to improve your conditioning for work related tasks.
Occupational health osteopaths also offer advice on return to work strategies suited to your circumstances, including on appropriate duties, environmental modifications, or on hours and tasks appropriate to your rate of recovery. This may assist you to manage further injury risks and adjust your work practices to recover at work.
Occupational health osteopaths give referrals to and work with other health professionals, case managers and others to coordinate injury management, return to work planning, or if advised by a treating medical practitioner.
With further education, training and experience, some occupational health osteopaths provide advice to stakeholders in workplace settings often on a corporation wide level. These occupational health osteopaths provide on-site task analysis, develop site specific injury management protocols, and provide education on manual handling techniques. They also provide ergonomics assessments and perform task-oriented tests to prevent workplace injuries, plan workplaces better and improve efficiency in task completion.
Osteopathy Australia's Clinical Practice Group (CPG) in occupational health exists to recognise osteopaths with further skills in work injury management and other areas of occupational health practice. Click here to find out more about our CPGs.