What is rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation after illness or injury is a slow step-by-step process that aims to help you recover. Rehabilitation might help you to get moving again, regain your strength, relearn skills, or find new ways of doing things.
The aim of rehabilitation is to help you lead as good a life as possible. That might be the same life you had before you got sick or injured, or it might be different.
You can talk to your doctor about what you would like rehabilitation to do for you. With your doctor, you will set some goals. Then you and your doctor will work out how to get there.
You will play a very important part in your rehabilitation. You will need to be patient – it takes time – but it can help.
You might need to use rehabilitation services if you have:
- had a stroke or spinal injury
- been hurt at home, while out and about, or at work
- had surgery
- had a heart attack
- had an illness, including a mental illness
- spent a long time in hospital.
Types of rehabilitation services
Rehabilitation services are usually different from standard hospital services. There will be specialised staff involved, like:
- specialist rehabilitation doctors
- occupational therapists
- speech therapists
- social workers
- other allied health professionals.
You can have rehabilitation as an inpatient or as an outpatient.
You might need to stay as an inpatient in a place where doctors and other health professionals can help you. This can be in a:
- special hospital ward, like a stroke unit
- specialist rehabilitation hospital or rehabilitation centre
- private hospital.
Health professionals will work with you (and your family and other carers) to create a rehabilitation plan. This will set goals and include a discharge plan for when you go home.
Outpatient (out of hospital) rehabilitation might involve health workers visiting your home. You might also attend clinics as an outpatient, or take part in rehabilitation programs. Sometimes these are group programs with other people who need rehabilitation.
If you have been injured at work you might be eligible for workers compensation.
The healthdirect service finder lists rehabilitation services and allied health professionals in your area.
Last reviewed: March 2016