Hi all, I am trying to return to work, OTR after rt shoulder surgery. My company states that our job description said that as an OT we must lift 75 to 100 lbs. That sounds like working as a CNA again, and after MANY year in the field I have never lifted that amount of weight. Not much skill of a therapist needed for toilet transfers when the pt cannot help stand up and work with clothing. What do you think, I am trying to find out what expectations other OT staff have, thanks, Wanda
Did your company hire you with a pre-employment strength assessment/screen to qualify your ability to lift 75-100lbs? A place I used to work required a 50lb free lift from the floor. Most OT's can not lift 75lbs. It sounds like a company with a "gotchya" clause.
What practice setting do you work in? Are you in home care where there are not others to assist if you do have an incident where a client requires extra assistance? If you are working in a facility, there are other employees that could help.
In addition, request a copy of your job description. There should be a frequency associated with the physical demands...frequently, occasionally, etc. Also, isn't the company required to make some reasonable accommodations for your return?
Kathleen T. Foley, PhD, OTR/L
I work in a SNF with a busy 23 bed TCU, I am the only OTR, I get inconsistent COTA support, I do my evals with the PT if we are concerned about ability to stand, and pt has not been using the lift in the hospital. The PT and I am both very careful with Lifing. I did work in a Wheel chair 2 years ago for 3 weeks after foot surgery I was NWB, But the Company has changed its req, and I am out on this hopefully only 8 week leave, 6 unpaid. I have had rotator cuff surgery before on the same arm and did go back in a sling for a couple of weeks, I did have a COTA at that company . I am beyond frustrated by what this is doing to the checkbook . thanks for your input. Wanda
Hi! I understand your frustration. I was injured at work 4 years ago when four of us were transferring a large bilateral knee replacement patient. I have lifting restrictions and should refrain from transferring clients due to the injury to my shoulder and neck. My employer told me that I could not stay on light-duty indefinitely. It has limited my employment options. One out-patient hospital setting allowed me to work part-time. Another won't consider my application until I don't have restrictions. (The irony in all of this is that I predominantly work in low vision and hand therapy. At the time of injury, in-patients accounted for approximately a quarter of my day.)
For a field that talks about maximizing people's function, there is very little that is done for the therapists who need accommodations. I have since seeked employment as a faculty member at a local OTA program and serve in a per diem capacity for low vision clients. Obtaining employment in area where I have been able to grow as a therapist has allowed me to restore the sense of being a productive member of society. The comments and views expressed by other co-workers when I wasn't able to do everything that they were able to took a toll on me. My friends and family were so happy to see me the change in me when I was able to work in area where my restrictions weren't effecting the job.
I wish you good luck! It is not easy, but know that you are not alone.
Julie Ann Nastasi, ScD, OTD, OTR/L, SCLV, FAOTA
The University of Scranton
Occupational Therapy Department
Scranton, PA 18510
Where is your facility getting the information that you can't lift the required amount of weight? Do you still have doctor's restrictions? If so then you have to talk to your surgeon about that.
I have done FCEs on clients where their employer has sent them for testing to see if they can do their job after a surgery and the employer pays for it 100%. It may be another option to go have an FCE done.
There are lots of factors that play into a situation like this. Good luck!
Thanks everyone you gave me some good info and support, I only have 1 right shoulder but this is really effecting the budget. My first love was psych and I worked in it for about 10 years, maybe I need to see what is out there. Insurance has really changed that part of our field here in MN. Wanda
Julie, I very much appreciated your comments and insights. I am newly injured. I herniated a disc in my neck helping a PT stand a difficult patient. I am still going through workman's comp. However I anticipate a career change. I am better now and surgery is indefinitely postponed. However, my neck will remain fragile unless I have surgery. So I am trying to figure out how to return to work.
What did you have to do to teach in and OTA program? Unfortunately I graduated in 1983, so I only have a bachelor's degree (but much experience)!!
I welcome any input from someone who has already been down this path.
Hi! I would recommend that you look into OTA programs in community colleges. I believe ACOTE only requires a bachelor's degree. My program is in a 4 year college so they require a minimum of a master's degree. I would recommend contacting local OTA programs and offer to go in and guest lecture. This way you can gain experience in teaching and see if it is something that you like.
On a side note, my aunt introduced me to Elaine Petrone's Miracle Ball Method. It has been wonderful for the herniated disc in my neck. Check out her web-site www.elainepetrone.com. If you are interested in it, check with your physician. I have had tremendous relief using the miracle balls daily and attending a class that she has weekly. I bring the miracle balls everywhere.
Good luck! If you have any questions, feel free to give me a call at work 914-674-7832.
I thought the general description for Occupational Therapists was in the :medium: work category which is 25# frequently and 50# occasionally. Try a google search for ONET to see the job description. GOE: 10.02.02 STRENGTH: M GED: R5 M4 L5 SVP: 7 DLU: 89 ONET CROSSWALK: 32305 Occupational Therapists