If work is solely for money, then money can replace work. However, when an individual is out of work, his/her role in the family and society changes.
Not aggressively returning a patient to productivity is arguably the greatest disservice we can do to them. Most of us spend the first 2+ decades learning how to work, the next 4+ decades performing that work, and the final stage of life determining our own sense of accomplishment for having done the work.
Work is not simply productivity for the sake of society. Work is also where the individual learns social skills, emotional interaction, economic planning, cooperation in task completion, a sense of purpose and a meaning to his/her existence.
I do not see us as arbitrarily attempting to return patients to work because it is our job to do so. I see it as universally true of humans that work creates a mission to life. For some, it is simply the creation of income so that the individual and family can survive.
For many, however, the entirety of life, from choosing a career path to determining when/if retirement occurs, is based upon the concept of work. Work adds meaning and identity to life.
How often do we ask _now, what is it that you do?_ Or even more often, _oh, so you are a dentist_an architect_a plumber__ We define people by the tasks they complete. And we define ourselves in the same terms.
If the patient_s mission in life is to be the work he/she performed, then our mission in life is to insure that their mission is complete.