What is Patient Rehabilitation?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Patient rehabilitation is a broad term that covers many different types of therapies and treatment programs aimed at assisting individuals to recover from some sort of debilitating mental or physical ailment. In some cases, the rehabilitation is accomplished on an outpatient basis, while other forms of rehab are provided at a rehabilitation clinic or center. Here are some examples of patient rehabilitation that are commonly made available.

Programs that address issues with substance abuse are among the more prominent forms of patient rehabilitation. Some programs are focused on helping individuals move through and conquer alcohol abuse, while others are focused on drug rehabilitation. A program of this type will address both physical, emotional, and mental symptoms that are commonly part of the withdrawal process. At the same time, alcohol and drug rehab also help the individual to begin envisioning a life that is free of the substance abuse by encouraging them to begin re-establishing social networks and acquire job skills that will lead to a steady and fulfilling life.


Another example of patient rehabilitation has to do with helping individuals recover full mobility after surgery or some other form of physical trauma has impaired the ability to move freely. Physical rehabilitation of this type may include intensive retraining therapy to help people learn to walk again after a stroke, or how to use prosthetics to manage after the loss of an arm or leg. Often, therapy of this type begins during the latter part of a hospital stay and continues with regular sessions at a rehabilitation center. The duration of the rehab depends on the severity of the condition and how much difficulty the patient experiences during the recovery period.

Patient rehabilitation can also focus on recovery from severe emotional trauma. The trauma may involve the sudden loss of loved ones or be based in factors that lead to the development of a debilitating emotional phobia. With this type of rehab, patients may spend time in an institution while they are stabilized, then continue outpatient treatments once they are judged to be capable of beginning to function in society once again.

In many instances, patient rehabilitation is a gradual process that moves forward at a pace that is carefully monitored. Over the life of the process, the specifics of the rehab may be altered to accommodate the emerging needs of the patient as he or she improves. Depending on the severity of the condition, the patient may require very little in the way of rehabilitation. At other times, the process of rehab may take several months or even years to complete.


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