Engaging an Ageing Workforce in Return to Work (RTW) [Part 2]

As mentioned in our previous post our team of Accredited Exercise Physiologists at Absolute Balance are at the ‘front line’ of engaging ageing workers into clinical exercise rehabilitation and return to work (RTW).

What separates our clinicians is a focus on the cognitive preparedness as well as the biophysical return to functional capacity. Our clinicians employ an evidence-based model with a ‘change behaviour strategy’ to assist our injured workers return to optimal function and ultimately RTW faster and sooner. How do we do this you ask? We have adapted a model used from the military ans the second part of this model is as follows:

Centralising (OR Centrality)

This means that all of the people involved with the injured worker should share a common goal for successful return to work. This includes the individual, their family, the employer, co-workers, treaters, and those managing the claim. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, and the system can become fragmented. Working with providers in a positive relationship/s improves outcomes.

Applying this principle would mean that:

  • Communication is coordinated, with goals and expectations the same for all of those involved
  • All parties demonstrate good faith in returning the person to employment
  • The person with the injury has a good understanding of the industrial and compensation system (in major part by advice from involved stakeholders operating within their respective scopes)
  • The person with the injury demonstrates appropriate motivation for rehabilitation and return to work
  • The treating practitioner co-ordinates treatment, and sets up appropriate expectations and goals within suitable timeframes (a MUST and often neglected part of the rehab process)


This term represents the idea that people with an injury often fulfil the clinical and labelling expectations placed on them.

In the military when people have been diagnosed using terms such as “Shell Shock’, as opposed to “Nervousness”, their outcomes were worse. There was an expectation that the first term would provide a long-term problem.

  • The work injury scenario application of this area includes:
  • Reinforcement of the proactive return to gainful employment
  • Establishing appropriate short term goals
  • Establishing timelines for return to employment
  • Being sensitive to factors that help motivate the person, and actively manage these issues
  • Ongoing regular updates of return to work goals

For further information on how we can assist your workforce feel free to email us at info@absolutebalance.com.au or call (08) 9244 5580.

Ryan O’Connor

Director & Accredited Exercise Physiologist