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Rehabilitation medicine focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and management of people with disabling medical conditions. Rehabilitation medicine physicians work with people with disabilities to reduce the impact of their disease or disability on their daily life, to prevent avoidable complications and to minimise the effects of changing disability.
Rehabilitation medicine serves two main groups of people: those with neurological disabilities and those with limb loss and other musculoskeletal impairments. Some of the conditions covered are: spinal and head injuries, amputation, stroke, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. In childhood these may also include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, congenital limb disorders and muscular dystrophies.
Most aspects of rehabilitation medicine require a multidisciplinary team. There is also much overlap with colleagues in other specialties in neurological, neurosurgical, orthopaedic, palliative care, psychiatric, psychological, rheumatological, vascular and pain medicine, as well as paediatric and geriatric colleagues. Social services and other non-medical agencies are often involved in the rehabilitation process to ensure that suitable care continues outside the hospital.
Related RCP publications
- Consultant physicians working with patients, fourth edition (2008)
- Use of antidepressant medication in adults undergoing recovery and rehabilitation following acquired brain injury: national guidelines (2005)
- Vocational assessment and rehabilitation after acquired brain injury: inter-agency guidelines (2004)
- Rehabilitation following acquired brain injury: national clinical guidelines (2002)
- Stroke rehabilitation: patient and carer views (1998)
For information about specialty training in rehabilitation medicine, go to the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Postgraduate Training Board (JRCPTB) website.
|New stroke rehabilitation guideline||12 June 2013|
|Clarification on the use of functional MRI scanning following Panorama 13 November 2012||28 November 2012|
|2011 Consultant Census online survey now open||15 November 2011|