What is Rehabilitation?

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation is the process of helping an individual achieve the highest level of function, independence, and quality of life possible. Rehabilitation does not reverse or undo the damage caused by disease or trauma, but rather helps restore the individual to optimal health, functioning, and well-being.

The rehabilitation program

Rehabilitation medicine is designed to meet each person's specific needs; therefore, each program is different. Some general treatment components for rehabilitation programs include the following:

  • Treating the basic disease and preventing complications
  • Treating the disability and improving function
  • Providing adaptive tools and altering the environment
  • Teaching the patient and family and helping them adapt to lifestyle changes

The success of rehabilitation depends on many variables, including the following:

  • The nature and severity of the disease, disorder, or injury
  • The type and degree of any resulting impairments and disabilities
  • The overall health of the patient
  • Family support

Areas covered in rehabilitation programs may include the following:


Patient need

Self-care skills, including activities of daily living (ADLs)
Example

Feeding, grooming, bathing, dressing, toileting, and sexual function

Physical care

Nutritional needs, medication, and skin care

Family support

Assistance with adapting to lifestyle changes, financial concerns, and discharge planning 

Psychological counseling

Identifying problems and solutions with thinking, behavioral, and emotional issues 

Pain management

Medications and alternative methods of managing pain 

Vocational training

Work-related skills

Socialization skills

Interacting with others at home and within the community 

Cognitive skills

Memory, concentration, judgment, problem solving, and organizational skills 

Communication skills

Speech, writing, and alternative methods of communication 

Respiratory care

Ventilator care, if needed; breathing treatments and exercises to promote lung function 

Mobility skills

Walking, transfers, and self-propelling a wheelchair 

Education

Patient and family education and training about the condition, medical care, and adaptive techniques 

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