What is rehabilitation?

Many people are uncertain about what the word, rehabilitation, means when used in relation to healthcare. This part of the site will start with a one sentence explanation. We will then explore the many different aspects of rehabilitation that are hidden within the single word.

Rehabilitation is a process whereby a person who has continuing problems arising from an illness is helped both to reduce the extent of their difficulties and to use whatever personal strengths and skills they have, so that they can achieve goals of importance to them, both in the shorter term and, more importantly, in the longer term.

This statement highlights three very important points about rehabilitation:

  • Rehabilitation is a problem-solving process.
  • Rehabilitation cannot resolve all problems.
  • Rehabilitation can, nonetheless, help someone to find and achieve goals that the person values.

This section of the will explain rehabilitation ‘for a beginner’. It starts with a sub-section with covering, after a general introduction, the structures needed, the processes undertaken, and the outcomes aimed for. This overview, based on evidence and shown in series of eight pages, introduces all the major concepts and ideas that need to be understood, before delving deeper. Read more.

The second section analyses each of the domains within the biopsychosocial model of illness, and how it relates to the other domains. It does so as a rehabilitation team might analyse a patient’s situation.

The third subsection concerns the central conceptual model that underlies almost everything within rehabilitation, namely the biopsychosocial model of illness. This was first formally described in 1977 by George Engel. The paper is still a good read.

This section of the site should give readers a good understanding of what rehabilitation is: the structures needs for it to succeed; the processes involved; and the outcomes that are aimed for.

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