Rehabilitation aims to improve or restore health after a physical impairment (such as an accident or a stroke) in order to facilitate return to work and social interaction. The goals of rehabilitation comprise improving the patient’s quality of life and restoring temporarily lost abilities. The patient is thus given the tools to cope with everyday life more easily.
To be able to achieve this, rehabilitation should always be approached in an interdisciplinary manner. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the so-called “management of functional health” not only comprises health assessment and performance of therapies, but goes far beyond this. Comprehensive rehabilitation also comprises the identification of potentials, deficiencies, and influencing factors that differ from person to person, as well as the planning, performance and evaluation of the necessary treatment steps.
The mode of operation in rehabilitation has changed considerably in recent years. The staff of a good rehabilitation facility comprises not only physicians, nurses and therapists; massage and lymphatic therapy, occupational therapy, psychology, dietetics, speech therapy, sports science, orthopedic technology and social services are likewise available to the patients. In this interdisciplinary team, the physicians play a coordinating role: They can and are allowed to treat co-morbidities (accompanying conditions), know the abilities and skills of all the professional groups in the rehabilitation team, decide which treatment steps are appropriate at which time, plan the sequence, control and monitor the rehabilitation process and eventually verify whether the results conform to the original objectives.
Graphic - Center: Functioning
During rehabilitation, objective measurements are made to continuously verify whether there is indeed progress. The rehabilitation goals are based primarily on the patient’s expectations and the surgeon’s specifications. If, despite appropriate steps, no improvement can be seen, or even new problems occur, the strategy that the physician has initially defined is revised and adapted. Feedback may have to be provided to the surgeon. The surgeon’s specifications have the highest priority.
The guiding principle of the rehabilitation team is as follows: All participants in the rehabilitation process maintain close contact for exchange of information and have the same level of information at all times. Team meetings are an important platform for this. The treatment strategy is continuously coordinated among the members of the treatment team: important contextual factors are compared, stagnant progress is discussed, and general questions are answered. Understanding needs and goals of everyone involved in the treatment process is crucial for good communication and the quality of the result.