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Rehabilitation is a key process within the legal industry, and a process I have worked within for the past 30 years, but often the terminology adds to confusion and misinterpretation which leads to the disruption of a claimant’s journey of recovery. It is so important to be clear in the delivery of rehabilitation, in order to identify the best possible service to meet the ongoing symptomatology of a claimant. Often the services of Rehabilitation, Support and Care become intertwined and so I’d like to take this opportunity, as the first of my editorials columns, to clarify this for you by way of a proverb:
“Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime.”
I hear you say, “How could this possibly be relevant to the role of rehabilitation following brain injury? “. Let me explain. Offering Care & Support packages without Rehabilitation is like offering the person a fish. It supports their daily needs but offers little hope of improvement for the future. On the other hand a properly designed rehabilitation programme offers the opportunity for personal growth, improved independence and enhanced quality of life which will last for a lifetime.
Rehabilitation teaches strategies to improve physical, cognitive and psychological performance which have become more difficult following an injury or accident. Rehabilitation should have SMART goals while recognising that not all problems can be fixed. Rehabilitation may be provided by private or statutory services and ideally takes place within the client’s own home. Importantly, rehabilitation should be outcome focussed and regularly appraised to meet changing needs while ensuring up-to-date processes are instilled, including digital and remote opportunities, to optimise functional recovery.
Rehabilitation is not a permanent process, it is there to help the patient achieve their objectives not to provide an ongoing support structure.
An injured person returning home may need to be provided with fish in the form of daily Care, however it encourages them to take the risk of finding out what they are really capable of. This means embarking on fishing lessons in the form of a rehabilitation programme to learn new techniques and skills. These enable the individual to optimise their potential and to enjoy a level of independence which they may never have imagined following their accident.
As rehabilitation providers we need to ask ourselves:
Are we offering a fish or a fishing lesson?