Physiotherapy a successful tool in helping TB patients back to work

Physiotherapy for TB patients

The on-site Occupational Health Department and Rehabilitation Centre is a Lonmin sponsored centre which provides HIV/Aids and TB prevention and treatment programmes for patients who want assistance to get back to work.

Patients are referred to the physiotherapy department in their non-infectious stage (two months post diagnosis while on TB treatment) from the clinics and the hospital. Patients are then enrolled in the cardio-conditioning programme which runs for six to eight weeks.

This entails 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking, outdoor aerobic training, weight lifting and anaerobic fitness training. After three weeks of participating in the programme, a baseline functional capacity assessment is performed. Those who fail the physical work capacity test are referred back to the physiotherapist to continue with cardiovascular training. Those who only fail the functional work capacity test are enrolled in a vocational rehabilitation programme.

This year, the Centre embarked upon a study with the aim of:

To achieve this, the records of 100 patients were examined and the patients monitored. Results showed the rehabilitation programme to be extremely successful – 92% of patients returned to work in their normal occupations and in the ten months after returning to work only 7.4% visited the clinic more than 10 times. It is encouraging to see that by investing in programmes such as this, it is possible for those employees who have HIV/Aids or TB to lead healthy, productive lives.