April 8, 2013

Work-related injuries are unfortunately prevalent in West Virginia, largely because of the demanding types of manual labor many of our large industries require.

"In West Virginia, you have the perfect storm—an older workforce, prevalence of obesity, long work hours and work that requires repetitive motion that can lead to sprains and strains or neurological issues," said Art Lilly, MS, ATC coordinator of the CAMC industrial rehabilitation program.

The goal of CAMC's industrial rehabilitation program, which is part of the CAMC Physical Therapy Center, is to get people back to work quickly after an accident or injury on the job. Utilizing a state-of-the-art testing system, the therapist can determine a person's level of functionality and assess what steps need to be taken to get that person back to work. The ARCON Functional Capacity Evaluation System measures a patient's ability through strength testing, musculoskeletal screening, cardiovascular assessment and other functionality.

Lilly, who has been the coordinator of the program for 16 years, is a proponent of employee education.

"Prevention is the key. Monitor your workers, and teach them to work smarter, not harder," he said.

The CAMC industrial rehabilitation program works closely with West Virginia Worker's Compensation to evaluate patients. The program sees an average of 250 patients each year from all over West Virginia.

"The program is designed to get people back to work," Lilly said. "I work with the vocational rehab community, employers, insurance companies, physicians and the injured worker and his or her family to provide a goal oriented, work injury rehab program."

Doug Wallace, 59-year-old native of St. Albans, recently went through the program after falling off a 12-step ladder while working for a painting contractor. Wallace's work injury left him with a broken hip and knee, and the inevitability of months of rehabilitation.

After going through surgery, Wallace completed basic physical therapy and was then sent to the industrial rehab program for work study therapy. From November to February, Wallace attended sessions at industrial rehab.

Wallace had nothing but good things to say about Lilly and the program.

"I felt like I was a member of Mr. Lilly's family. He had a genuine concern for my health," Wallace said. "It was very uplifting and gave me a reason to hope. My balance and strength improved."

Wallace continues to recover and is working with his employer to determine in what capacity he can return to work.

The industrial rehabilitation program also provides expert testimony, back care education, work hardening and conditioning programs and more.

For more information about industrial rehabilitation at CAMC, call (304) 388-4900.

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