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What is rehabilitation medicine?

Rehabilitation medicine is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation management of people with disabling medical conditions and is divided into the subspecialties of neurorehabilitation, amputee, cardiac, spinal injury, trauma and general rehabilitation. (RCPE 2019)

Rehabilitation medicine aims to maximise patients’ level of function. It may be required following an illness or injury that affects your capacity to do your usual activities, such as walking, looking after yourself at home and returning to your usual role at work. 

There are many conditions which can lead to a reduced level of function or independence and the need for rehabilitation, such as, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, amputation, acute or chronic pain, recent surgery, or a serious medical illness.

Rehabilitation physicians lead a multi-disciplinary team, including rehabilitation nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers, discharge planners, speech pathologists and clinical psychologists in the coordinated and holistic care of patients in their recovery.