Kolkata, Jun 15: Rehabilitation is an essential component of universal health coverage along with promotion, prevention, treatment and palliation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rehabilitation is a set of interventions needed when a person is experiencing or is likely to experience limitations in everyday
functioning due to ageing or a health condition, including chronic diseases or disorders, injuries or traumas.
Examples of limitations in functioning include difficulties in thinking, seeing, hearing, communicating, moving around, having relationships or keeping a job.
Rehabilitation enables individuals of all ages to maintain or return to their daily life activities, fulfill meaningful life roles and maximize their well-being.
Rehabilitation is a highly person-centered health strategy that may be delivered either through specialized rehabilitation programmes (commonly for people with complex needs),
or integrated into other health programmes and services, for example, primary healthcare, mental health, vision and hearing programmes.
Some examples of rehabilitation include: Exercises to regain the ability to swallow or upper-limb retraining to regain coordination, dexterity and movement of an affected limb following a stroke.Interventions that improve safety and independence at home and reduce the risk of
falls for an older person, such as balance training or modifying their home environment.
Early interventions to address developmental outcomes of a child with cerebral palsy,such as fitting an orthosis, or providing training in sensory integration and self-care, which in turn can improve participation in education, play, and family and community activities.Interventions that optimize surgical outcomes after a hip fracture, including exercise
prescription, provision of a walking aid and education about hip movements to avoid during the recovery process.Cognitive behavioural therapy and interventions aiming to increase exercise for an
individual with depression.
Interventions that support daily activities and community access for individuals with vision loss, such as providing strategies to complete personal care tasks and training in the use of a white cane.
There are a broad range of health professionals who provide rehabilitation interventions, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, orthotic and prosthetic technicians, and physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians.
Rehabilitation can reduce the impact of a broad range of health conditions, including diseases (acute or chronic), disorders, injuries or trauma. It is a highly integrated form of health care that complements other health interventions, such as medical and surgical interventions, helping to achieve the best outcome possible. For example, rehabilitation can help to prevent complications associated with many health conditions, such as spinal cord injury, stroke, or a fracture.
Rehabilitation can also help to minimize or slow down the disabling effects of chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes by equipping people with self-management strategies and the assistive products they require, or by addressing pain or other complications.
Rehabilitation is an investment, with cost benefits for both the individuals and society.It can help to avoid costly hospitalization, reduce hospital length of stay, and prevent re-admissions.
Rehabilitation also enables individuals to participate in education and
gainful employment, remain independent at home, and minimize the need for financial or caregiver support. Rehabilitation is an important part of universal health coverage and is a key strategy for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 – “Ensure healthy lives and promote
well-being for all at all ages”.