A rehabilitation (rehab) program is specifically designed for each person. It varies depending on the person's injury, disorder, or illness. Rehab treatment takes a multidisciplinary team approach to care and service. This means that many different professionals work together toward a common goal. A physiatrist often directs the team. Other specialists also play important roles in treatment and education. Which team members take part depends on many factors. These include the patient's need, facility resources, and insurance coverage for services.
The rehab team may include these members:
Patient and family. They are the most important members of the rehab team.
Physiatrist. A medical doctor who evaluates and treats rehab patients. The physiatrist is often the team leader. They are responsible for coordinating patient care services with other team members. A physiatrist focuses on restoring function to people with disabilities.
Rehab nurse. A nurse who specializes in rehabilitative care and helps the person to reach the highest level of independence. Their focus is on medical care, prevention of complications, and patient and family education.
Clinical social worker. A professional counselor who acts as a liaison for the patient, family, and rehab treatment team. The social worker helps provide support and coordinate discharge planning and referrals. They may also help coordinate care with insurance companies.
Physical therapist. A therapist who helps restore function for people with problems related to movement, muscle strength, exercise, and joint function.
Occupational therapist. A therapist who helps restore function for people with problems related to activities of daily living (ADLs). This includes work, school, family, and community and leisure activities.
Speech/language pathologist. A therapist who helps restore function for people with problems related to thinking (cognitive), communication, or swallowing issues.
Psychiatrist, psychologist, or neuropsychologist. A healthcare provider or counselor who does cognitive assessments of the person. They also help the person and their family adjust to the disability.
Recreation therapist. A therapist who coordinates therapeutic recreation programs. These help promote social skills and leisure activities.
Audiologist. A healthcare provider who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of hearing and hearing loss.
Registered dietitian. A nutritionist who evaluates and provides for the dietary needs of each person. This is based on the person's medical needs, eating abilities, and food preferences.
Vocational therapist. A counselor who helps people with disabilities to plan careers and find and keep satisfying jobs.
Orthotist. A healthcare provider who makes braces and splints used to strengthen or stabilize a part of the body.
Prosthetist. A healthcare provider who makes and fits artificial body parts, such as an artificial leg or arm.
Case manager. A rehab case manager helps plan, organize, coordinate, and monitor services and resources for the person.
Respiratory therapist. A therapist who helps treat and restore function for people with airway and breathing problems.
Chaplain. A spiritual counselor who helps people and families during crisis periods. They help serve as a liaison between the hospital and the home church or place of worship.
Most rehab teams hold weekly, biweekly, or monthly meetings, depending on the setting. Topics covered at team meetings include:
The person's plan of care
The person's progress
Short- and long-term goals
Length of stay
Education needs for the person and their family
Team meetings help with communication and planning among team members and the person and their family. Team meeting reports are often shared with insurance companies and case managers. This is done to help with discharge planning, use of resources, and continuation of care.