What is the purpose of rehabilitative medicine? What is one type of rehab used to enhance quality of life.

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rehabilitative medicine is used for patients with specific debilitating and traumatic conditions that require much more than just medication to enhance their quality of life. When a patient's condition involves not only pain, but also lack of mobility, general malaise, and overal incapacitation, there are several services that need to be put into place. Therefore, there are centers that offer all of this services in one same building and the patient can actually enjoy the benefit of on-site treatment without having to worry about having to make it to an appointment, or having someone from the family having to sacrifice their working/leisure time to nurse them.

An example of the conditions treated with rehabilitative medicine is spinal cord injury. An RM center would not just have a bed available for the patient, but also a physical therapy room, talk therapy, round-the clock observation, and an area of leisure (or "silent area"). The whole-patient approach provided by rehabilitative medicine enhances the quality of life precisely because it is people-centered; the patient is given every opportunity to recover, or at least to learn new ways to look at their life after the injury from a cognitive and perceptual level.

Other examples of rehabilitative medicine may involve:

  • drug/alcohol rehabilitation- 12-step programs/in-house rehab such as seen in Dr. Drew's TV show.
  • Alzheimer's disease- Homes for patients with round-the clock nurse care.
  • cancer treatment- As in the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and St. Jude's.
  • severe eating disorders- Ex: The Remuda Ranch and Cinco Ranch are places where ED and Anxiety patients stay and get treatment not only for their conditions, but also to re-learn how to take over their lives again through behavior modification.
trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rehabilitative medicine has the aim of restoring quality of life and  function to people with disabilities. If a person suffers complications due to stroke, then rehabilitation is needed for possibly regaining the ability to move or speak. There are fields including--sports medicine, pain management, neuromuscular, spinal cord injury, surgical rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury, physical therapy and many other fields that all deal with rehabilitation. The goal is to enhance a person's quality of life and restore function as much as possible. For instance, if someone has a knee replacement surgery, they will then need rehab for several weeks to strengthen the leg and knee and to help the person regain the ability to walk properly.