Managed Physical Medicine

I’m Scheduled for an Initial Evaluation. Now What?

As part of our Patient Advocacy Program, MedRisk is committed to informing injured workers on what they can expect when they’re scheduled for workers’ comp-related tests and procedures.

This post is designed to help patients prepare for an initial evaluation. It should not be considered medical advice; if you have specific questions, you should contact your physician or case manager.

What is it?

In physical therapy or occupational therapy, an initial evaluation is exactly what it sounds like: a first visit with a therapist, who examines and evaluates the injured worker’s condition. The IE allows the therapist to develop a course of treatment, which will contribute to the patient’s eventual return to work.

What to expect

Pre-exam questions

  • Before the exam, you should write down any issues, concerns or symptoms you might be having. As much detail as possible should be given – even the smallest pieces of information can help the therapist.
  • You should also have a firm grasp of your medical history, and write down any medications you might be taking (and the dosage).
  • If you don’t speak English, it’s helpful to bring a bilingual family member or friend, in the event the PT or OT facility does not have a translator ready.

What to wear

  • You should wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Avoid high heels, and leave jewelry at home.
  • For an upper body injury, wear short sleeves. For a lower body injury, wear or bring shorts.

About the exam

  • You can expect the therapist to ask you to describe the injury and how it occurred, as well as any symptoms you might be experiencing. You will also be asked about any other medical conditions you might have.
  • The evaluation and some initial treatment typically take about one hour.