What's Meant by Rehabilitation?


(Blog dedicated to Dr. Howard Rusk, Father of Rehabilitation Medicine)

When I tell my friends, colleagues, family or patients that we are running a NeuroRehab Center, they ask, “What do you mean by rehabilitation?”

So I thought of sharing with you today about what rehabilitation truly means. And why its not the same as plain physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy evokes a therapy-oriented model of what is done to the patient. Rehabilitation is a goal-oriented model of recovery where the patient’s goal and interest are primary; it is about helping patient achieve those goals and objectives.

Let us use stroke (paralysis) as an example.

The first phase of medicine is preventive medicine – trying to prevent the occurrence of stroke in the first place through control of high blood pressure and diabetes, stress reduction, proper diet and physical activity etc.

The second phase is curative – use of medicines and surgery in an acute care setting such as the use of injections to limit the size of brain injury and medicines to alleviate the disability to the greatest possible degree.

The third phase is Rehabilitation. Sadly, in our healthcare system, this phase is often ignored and the patient and family are left without information, understanding and resources to deal with the residual disability. Their battle with themselves, family and society starts at this stage. Rehabilitation is the process of retaining the person to restore him or her to the fullest physical, mental, social and economic ability. Rehabilitation team works with you to make sure your best capabilities are brought to the front.

Rehabilitation is an active program where the most important person is the patient along with his / her family. The rehab team and therapy revolves around the patient, not the other way around.

And this is our mission – to reduce the burden of “unnecessary” disability from neurological diseases through technology-enabled rehabilitation that meets international standards.

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