When someone sustains injury requiring rehabilitation, he or she may receive services from different members of the rehabilitation team, depending on the type of injury. The members of the team work in consultation with each other to bring about the best possible outcome. While some areas of their specialty may overlap, each member has a distinct role to play in the patient’s recovery.
Here are a few:
This type of rehabilitation deals with movement dysfunction resulting from musculoskeletal or neurological disorders. Musculoskeletal injuries will be those involving muscle, bone, tendons and ligaments. Examples of these are osteoporosis, tendinitis, back pain, knee and shoulder injuries. While physiotherapy is recommended in all of these cases, other types of rehabilitation may be needed as well. Neurological disorders involve the nervous system and may cause paralysis to a part of the body. Examples are stroke, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, headaches and many others. As in the case of musculoskeletal injuries, these may also require other types of rehabilitation.
The duties of the occupational therapist are many and wide-ranging. Anyone who is unable to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, self-feeding, cooking etc., has fine motor problems, cognitive problems, or sensory motor deficits requires the services of an occupational therapist. He/she deals with such conditions as rotator cuff injuries, hand and wrist fractures, stroke, arthritis, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, Autism and other developmental delays. This specialist works closely with the physiotherapist and some of their duties may overlap. In addition, occupational therapists also work in industrial rehabilitation, assisting employees and employers to optimise their performance and work satisfaction.
Speech therapists work with patients who have speech and/or swallowing problems. Someone who has suffered a stroke definitely needs speech therapy in order to help him feed himself independently without choking as well as to restore his speech function. The speech therapist also works in schools with children who have developmental delays such as Down Syndrome, Autism, ADHD and other similar conditions.
A number of other rehabilitation specialists may be found in some settings in addition to the three main ones listed above. Some of these are vision therapists, recreational therapists, art therapists and others. The goal is to provide the patient with all the services necessary to help him return to his prior level of functioning and lead a normal life.