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What to expect from rehabilitation

If you have been injured or are recovering from a serious illness, you might need to use a rehabilitation service to help you get better. Rehabilitation services are specialised healthcare services that are designed to help people regain their physical, mental or cognitive abilities after a disease or injury.

Rehabilitation services can help you return to daily life and live in a normal, or near-normal way. Common rehabilitation services include physical therapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive therapy and mental health rehabilitation.

What is rehabilitation used for?

Rehabilitation is used to help people recover from a wide range of injuries and illnesses. It is also used to help people recover from certain medical treatments and surgeries. You might need to use rehabilitation services if you have:

  • had a stroke, heart attack or spinal injury
  • had surgery, especially on the knees or joints
  • had an accident at home, on the road or at work
  • had an illness
  • had a mental illness
  • spent a long time in hospital

What rehabilitation is right for you?

The type of rehabilitation that you need will depend on your particular medical needs and history. Rehabilitation services are available for a wide range of conditions, including recovering from a stroke, heart attack, surgery, road accident or workplace injury. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

How long does rehabilitation take?

Rehabilitation after an illness or injury can be a slow process and it’s important that you talk to your doctor or allied health professional to find out what rehabilitation will be like for you. The goal of rehabilitation is to help you live a good a life as possible. Rehabilitation can be used to get you moving again, including relearning skills, regaining strength and finding new ways of doing things.

Your life after rehabilitation may return to what it was like before you got sick or injured, or it may be different. It’s a good idea to work with your medical team to set some time-specific goals and create an action plan on how to get there.

Your role in rehabilitation

Understanding the role that you play in your own recovery is an important part of the rehabilitation process. Rehabilitation can be slow and challenging, and having a positive approach to the process can go a long way towards helping you achieve your goals. Remember, you will need to be patient and do your best every day.

Types of rehabilitation services

Most rehabilitation services will use a mixture of specialist rehabilitation doctors, psychologists, nurses, physiotherapists, dietitians, speech therapists, social workers, and occupational therapists.

Rehabilitation services are usually available as either inpatient or outpatient services. In patient rehabilitation services usually take place in a specialised hospital ward, private hospital or specialist rehabilitation centre.

If you are receiving inpatient rehabilitation services, a health professional team will work with you and your family to get you well enough to go home. They will also set goals and create a discharge plan for when you eventually leave the hospital.

Outpatient rehabilitation typically happens either in your home or in a community-based clinic. Home based rehabilitation usually involves health professionals visiting your home on a regular basis. Community-based rehabilitation programs can happen in a variety of settings, and may involve just yourself and a medical professional, or a group program with others who also need rehabilitation.

How much does rehabilitation cost?

Rehabilitation in an Australian public hospital is usually delivered at no cost to patients. If your rehabilitation happens as an outpatient, a proportion of your costs may be covered by Medicare. If you choose to have your rehabilitation with private medical providers you may be out of pocket, and should check with your private health insurer to find out what rebates they offer for rehabilitation services. People who have been injured at work may be eligible for workers compensation.

Thinking about rehabilitation equipment

You may need to purchase specialised rehabilitation equipment such as walking aids, crutches, or toilet rails. Talk to your healthcare team about which rehabilitation equipment will be right for you. You might also like to ask the professional team at Mobility Aids Australia.

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