Work Specialty Rehabilitation Program

Aurora Work Specialty Rehabilitation Program offers personalized, quality and cost effective services, from prevention and wellness to rehabilitation of injured workers with the goal of returning the employee to work. Sites throughout southeastern Wisconsin can provide injury prevention education, from back schools to cumulative trauma prevention or customized topics.

Our experienced, skilled clinicians can also provide on-site ergonomic assessments to assist with injury prevention, to develop pre-placement, post-offer functional tests, or to provide recommendations regarding reasonable accommodation for ADA compliance. Our work programs are designed to address the physical, psycho-social and cultural needs of the individual to achieve maximum independent functioning in a vocation.

Our interdisciplinary teams provide highly structured, goal oriented and individualized treatment programs to transition workers through the process from acute care to return to work.

Experienced staff

An interdisciplinary team including occupational and physical therapists and licensed athletic trainers work with the medical physician on specialized programs for the injured worker. Many of Aurora's therapists have completed advanced training in occupational topics such as ergonomics, functional capacity evaluations, and evaluation and treatment of the injured worker.

Individualized treatment

Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE's)

Five Aurora Rehabilitation Center locations in the Milwaukee area and Washington County are offering the Physical Work Performance Evaluation (PWPE) by ErgoScience. The PWPE is a 3-4 hour performance-based test that reports client abilities in terms of safe maximal levels, as well as a client's ability to tolerate an 8-hour workday. The test is divided into 7 sections:

  • Dynamic strength
  • Fine motor
  • Coordination
  • Position tolerance
  • Balance
  • Endurance
  • Mobility continued

The reliability and validity of the PWPE is supported through peer reviewed, published research. A functional capacity evaluation can provide a physician with information to:

  • Determine return to work status
  • Determine residual functional capacity
  • Determine disability

Work hardening/work conditioning program

Work hardening/work conditioning is a 2-6 week personalized return-to-work program designed for each injured worker. Included in this program are an evaluation of each person's work environment, simulated work activities, exercise and education, all focusing on the goal of returning employees to work. The work hardening evaluation and program consists of:

  • Vocational assessment
  • Program functional capacity evaluation
  • On-site job analysis
  • Psychological assessment
  • Musculoskeletal evaluation
  • Vocational rehabilitation counseling
  • Work-simulation activities
  • Injury-prevention education
  • Physical reconditioning/exercise
  • Psychological assistance

The work conditioning evaluation and program include:

  • On-site job analysis
  • Program functional capacity evaluation
  • Musculoskeletal evaluation
  • Physical reconditioning/exercise
  • Injury-prevention education
  • Work-simulation activities

Benefits of the work hardening/work conditioning program:

  • Injured workers increase their overall muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, and learn how to prevent re-injury.
  • Employers reduce medical costs, replacement labor costs and lost work days.
  • Insurers reduce costs and avoid unsuccessful long-term rehabilitation through early referral to an Aurora Rehabilitation Center.
  • Physicians have assurance that their patients receive high-quality treatment in a timely manner.

Comprehensive care provided


  • Back School - An educational group session, usually available on-site, which instructs employees in back care, prevention of injuries, and proper body mechanics, often inclusive of materials handling practice. Can also provide individual instruction usually in conjunction with a post-offer physical examination.
  • Cumulative Trauma Education - An educational group session, usually on-site, which instructs employees in prevention and management of cumulative trauma injuries. Educational sessions can be tailored to specific needs identified, for example, office ergonomics, fitness, stress management, etc.
  • Pre-Placement, Post-Offer Functional Testing - This tests a post-offer candidate's ability to perform the essential physical components of a job. This can assist employers in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is usually provided as part of a pre-employment physical examination. These tests are job-related and give objective and reliable information about the candidate's ability to do the job.
  • Worker Exercise Program - Exercises designed for employees which are meant to be performed on the job as a warm-up and stretching program. A "train the trainer" approach may be used.


  • Back Rehabilitation Program - A treatment program, usually consisting of education, stretches, strengthening and home exercises, designed to restore function of an injured back, empower the injured employee to manage back problems and prevent re-injury.
  • Hand Rehabilitation Program - A specialized area of therapy that treats injuries and problems of the hand. Hand therapists are often certified and have had additional training focusing on the intricate structures and functions of the hand.
  • On-site Rehabilitation - Rehabilitation services offered at the job site, particularly post-injury treatment. With on-site service accessibility, employers can reduce costs associated with travel time for treatment and the costs of lost productivity. Clinicians can provide assessment for job readiness using real job activities and make recommendations for the removal of ergonomic hazards. These services contribute to improved employee morale and job satisfaction, as well as injury prevention and loss control.
  • Orthopedic Rehabilitation - Evaluation and treatment of injuries to the skeleton, muscles, tendons and supporting soft tissue structures. Includes fractures, strains and sprains as well as other injuries.
  • Rehabilitation Case Management - The coordination of rehabilitation services for an injured employee involves managing communication and intervention between rehabilitation services and the physician, employer, employee, rehabilitation nurse and insurance adjusters, to ensure quality, cost effective outcomes.

Additional services

  • ADA Consulting - Guidance regarding ADA issues, particularly in regards to reasonable accommodations and workplace modifications.
  • OSHA Consulting - In conjunction with Aurora occupational health, guidance regarding OSHA issues.
  • ADA Job Descriptions - Clinicians can assist employers in writing job descriptions by quantitatively and qualitatively evaluating essential physical demands of a job and providing tools to assist in identifying other qualifications.
  • Body Fat/Composition Testing - A measurement performed, via calipers, water displacement, or electrodes, which determines the percentage of a person's body fat.
  • Fitness Programs - Any number of exercise or educational programs aimed at promoting wellness and preventing illness and injuries.
  • Ergonomic Assessment- An analysis of a work station to identify areas of injury risk and to make recommendations for remediation, or to provide recommendations regarding reasonable accommodation for ADA compliance.
  • Vocational Services - Services which focus on the vocational needs of employees such as vocational evaluation, assessment, counseling and job placement assistance.

Locations offering this service

Fond du Lac County

Aurora Health Center
210 Wisconsin American Drive
Hwy. 23 East
Fond du Lac, WI 54935
(920) 907-7000

Kenosha County

Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha
7610 Pershing Blvd.
Kenosha, WI 53142
(262) 948-7045

Milwaukee County

Aurora Rehabilitation Center
Aurora Health Center
1575 N. RiverCenter Dr., Suite 190
Milwaukee, WI 53212
(414) 224-6424

Aurora Rehabilitation Center
2000 E. Layton Ave., Suite 160
St. Francis, WI 53235
(414) 747-8400

Aurora Rehabilitation Center
4111 W. Mitchell St., Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53215
(414) 643-3860

Racine County

Aurora Wellness Center Burlington
300 McCanna Parkway
Burlington, WI 53105
(262) 767-7120

Racine Razor Sharp Fitness Center
7300 Washington Avenue
Racine, WI 53406
(262) 321-6000

Walworth County

Aurora Rehabilitation Center in Delavan
830 East Geneva Street
Delavan, WI 53115
(262) 728-9164

Aurora Lakeland Medical Center
W3985 County Road NN
Elkhorn, WI 53121

Aurora Rehabilitation Center in Lake Geneva
146 East Geneva Square
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
(262) 249-4670

Washington County

Aurora Rehabilitation Center
Aurora Health Center
1640 E. Sumner St.
Hartford, WI 53027
(262) 670-4300

Aurora Rehabilitation Center/Aurora Sports Medicine Institute
1100 Gateway Ct.
West Bend, WI 53095
(262) 306-6100

Waukesha County

Aurora Rehabilitation Center
St. Luke's New Berlin Health Care Center
14555 W. National Ave., Suite 195
New Berlin, WI 53151
(262) 827-2929

Aurora Rehabilitation Center/Aurora Sports Medicine Institute
Aurora Medical Center in Summit
36500 Aurora Dr.
Summit, WI 53066
(262) 434-2600

Aurora Rehabilitation Center
Aurora Health Center
W231 N1440 Corporate Ct.
Waukesha, WI 53186
(262) 896-6045

Winnebago County

Aurora Rehabilitation Center
Aurora Medical Center
712 Doctors Court
Oshkosh, WI 54901
(920) 303-5300