What should rehabilitation after major trauma look like and how should it be delivered?
Rehabilitation is not about rest and recovery – it is an active process that aims to restore optimal function following any significant injury or illness. Whilst the content and objectives of any rehabilitation programme are specific to each individual case, the model by which it is delivered should follow certain key principles and include certain key elements.
The importance of early access to rehabilitation
Early intervention is critical to achieving an optimum final outcome. Whilst time and Mother Nature may be great healers, there is a progressive deterioration of health and function over the months following a major traumatic event.
This deterioration will often include:
- worsening muscle weakness,
- joint stiffness,
- global deconditioning,
- loss of confidence,
- chronic pain,
- social isolation and
- (very commonly) a deterioration in mood and psychological wellbeing.
Without active, early rehabilitation these factors conspire to delay and often limit the individual’s final functional outcome and quality of life.
A holistic, bio-psychosocial approach to rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is best delivered in a truly holistic way that ensures that an individual’s rehabilitation needs are all addressed together in a ‘joined up’ way. This is often referred to as a ‘bio-psychosocial’ model of care and reflects the fact that physical, psychological and environmental elements of a person’s wellbeing are all inter-connected. Pain is a common symptom that can only be managed effectively by addressing all these factors that will be contributing towards its negative impact on a person’s quality of life.
The ‘bio-psychosocial’ model of care can only be delivered by a ‘multi-disciplinary team’ that should ideally be led by a Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine and that combines the skills and experience of a wide range of experienced clinicians, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists and others. In cases of Personal Injury where legal advice and access to funding can have a major impact on the provision of rehabilitation, the claimant’s legal team become an integral part of this multi-disciplinary team.
Goal focussed, aspirational rehabilitation from major trauma
Another key element of any effective model of rehabilitation is that it should be ‘goal focussed’ and aspirational. Each individual’s goals and expectations will be different, but their rehabilitation journey should always aim to advance them along the path towards their own specific goals. Whilst not all will achieve their desired final outcome, the collective efforts of an integrated team of experts who adopt an aspirational ‘can do’ attitude to rehabilitation will most likely enable an individual to reach their maximum potential.
Rehabilitation following major traumatic injury is a complex and often lengthy process that aims to return an individual to their highest possible level of function and quality of life. In order for this to be achieved, the rehabilitation must be initiated as early as possible, must be fully integrated and ‘joined up’ and must be specific to the needs of each individual. Without these key elements, both research and clinical experience have shown that optimal rehabilitation outcomes are unlikely to be achieved.
How Major Trauma Group can help
The Major Trauma Group is a collective of experienced legal and health professionals, supporting people who have suffered major trauma as a result of an accident caused by the negligence of another party.
All of our personal injury solicitors focus on early access to holistic rehabilitation, improving outcomes and quality of life with a collaborative and supportive approach to each client’s individual needs.
To work with a specialist solicitor experienced in the complexities of major trauma and with the local knowledge you will require, get in touch via telephone, email or post.
For our postal address see our Contact Us page.