General Rehab

Typically, people undergo rehab to recover from injury, surgery, or from physical traumas such as a workplace or motor vehicle accidents. And just as there are many reasons why people need rehab, there are also many specialised types of rehab that are designed to address different conditions. Let’s explore a few.

Rehabilitation, especially inpatient rehabilitation, has been a topic of much discussion and research in recent times. Patients and practitioners alike seem to have a lot of questions about rehab. Does it work? Is it the same, better, or worse than going straight home from an acute hospital after initial surgery? How do the outcomes compare with outpatient rehab?

Health funds are driving a lot of these discussions and there are plenty of surgeons who also advocate for their patients to go home after surgery, rather than endure an inpatient stay.

While it’s appropriate for certain patients to go straight home from the acute setting, there are many who really benefit from inpatient rehab.

When looking at all the research, stats and outcomes, it’s important to note that there is a significant human element when it comes to measuring the success of a rehab program.

Think about it: not everyone has a spouse or carer to go home to, or someone that can look after them during the day and drive them to their various outpatient appointments (physio, GP, psychologist).

We can’t always assume that everyone has a strong network of support from family or friends; for many people this just isn’t the case. For this particular group, inpatient rehab is usually the best option.

Types of outpatient rehab programs

The basic setup for any hospital rehab department is an outpatient rehab program, otherwise known as ‘day rehab’. So that the treatment addresses the patient’s various individual needs, programs are usually delivered by a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

In most outpatient rehab environments, you’ll generally find the following specialised programs:

Strength and Reconditioning
This is for those in need of a short burst of rehab to get back on their feet. A good example might be someone who has had an episode of being confined to bed for a period of time.

Joint Group
A program designed for post-arthroplasty patients to help improve range of movement (ROM), strength, balance and functional tasks.

Back Care Group
The name says it all! This one provides lots of education and advice about back care, as well as exercises to help strengthen the back, manage pain and increase ROM.

Falls Prevention Program
These programs generally involve 6-8 weeks of combined education from a multidisciplinary team along with physical exercises. The aim is to educate people at high risk of having a fall and to prevent the likelihood of a fall happening.

Cardiac Rehab
This one covers all types of cardiac intervention, from stents to bypasses. Typically, a multidisciplinary team will deliver the program over a 6 to 8-week period.

Neuro Rehab
This program also takes a multidisciplinary team approach, in this case to address neurological conditions such as acquired brain injury (ABI), stroke and demyelination.

Oncology Rehab
This one takes a multidisciplinary team approach to address the physical and psycho-social needs of oncology patients. There’s a lot of research to support the efficacy of an approach that combines education, exercise, and the involvement of a MDT as an adjunct to the medical treatment provided.

What we’ve listed here is by no means an exhaustive list of all the different types of rehab programs out there – for a start, we haven’t even touched on respiratory, pain management or sleep therapy programs. But as you can see, each of these programs shares a common thread of joint goal-setting and functional outcomes for all patients.

Ready to incorporate some of this insight into your own practice? To simplify matters, the three major components that run through every successful rehab program are:

  1. Education
  2. Physical Exercise
  3. Psycho-social support.

Next time you want to set up a program, review a program or just change the way you currently provide your service, consider those three important components: education, physical exercise and psycho-social support. To really get the best results for your patients, go for a MDT approach and be sure to include the patient in the goal-setting process.

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