Rehabilitation medicine

Specialists in rehabilitation medicine (RM) work closely with many other medical specialties, healthcare professionals and other agencies to assess and provide interventions to individuals with complex disabling conditions. The aim is to optimise recovery after severe injuries in the acute phase and improve function and promote participation in society in the longer term for all people with conditions which give rise to disability.

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Rehabilitation doctor

Nature of the work

Neurorehabilitation encompasses patients with traumatic brain injury, stroke and progressive neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury rehabilitation for patients with acute or progressive spinal cord injuries.

Musculoskeletal medicine includes a wide range of chronic conditions. Limb loss medicine includes a large proportion of patients with widespread vascular disease, or who have congenital limb abnormalities. Some conditions such as cerebral palsy have a combination of neurological and musculoskeletal problems.

Working with such a varied group of patients demands highly developed diagnostic abilities. Skills in managing both acute and chronic complications are essential. Rehabilitation physicians have the advantage of developing the ‘long view’, managing patients for months or even years from soon after an acute event, through to discharge and ongoing rehabilitation in the community.

This gives the opportunity to get to know the patient and their family and so deliver holistic care.

Current trends in rehabilitation medicine include interfacing with acute services and other specialties such as:

Common procedures/interventions

These include:

Sub-specialties

Many doctors in rehabilitation medicine develop sub-specialty interests such as:

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