The rehabilitation needs if you are suffering with severe illness or injury are documented in the rehabilitation prescription (“RP”). This identifies how these needs will be addressed. It is used to describe your physical, cognitive and psychosocial needs, considering your pre-injury life, and states how these issues will be managed post-discharge.
A single document outlining these issues and the potential routes that will be taken to make life better post discharge is extremely important. It makes life much easier and can help not only you to get to grips with a new way of life, but also to help your family and GP understand what is needed next. You should be given to the RP upon discharge from hospital and a copy sent to your GP. The rehabilitation journey is built from this document following major trauma.
Does access to early rehabilitation aid recovery?
Major trauma changes people’s lives and the lives of those around them. Without specialist rehabilitation survivors often face a long, difficult and costly journey to varying degrees of recovery, often with limited mobility, chronic pain, psychological disturbance including post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) & depression and loss of independence.
Anyone suffering major trauma injuries will require some degree of complex rehabilitation in order to reduce the negative impact on their quality of life and to facilitate their recovery back into the community.
Early access to rehabilitation enables patients to achieve better outcomes, have fewer complications and gets them back to work in a shorter period of time. Despite this, provision for complex musculoskeletal injury rehabilitation in the community can vary significantly. On occasions patients can be discharged to their home or remain in hospital neither of which represent the ideal environment for meaningful, early rehabilitation.
What is the ideal rehabilitation for major trauma patients?
The ideal rehabilitation journey would include:
- Early implementation of rehabilitation in the hospital;
- Early instruction of a specialist rehabilitation provider;
- Consultant-led, coordinated delivery of integrated, multi-disciplinary rehabilitation;
- Provision of post-acute residential rehabilitation in a suitable clinical setting outside hospital followed by community support;
- Cohesive care across state and private sectors;
- Agreement of prospective funding for rehabilitation.
Accessing specialist rehabilitation remains difficult for some in part, due to a lack of NHS funds and also due to a dearth of available expertise. In many cases, lawyers and insurers are involved in the rehabilitation process becoming a vital part of the rehabilitation team that finds the right type of rehabilitation service to help you maximise the recovery process.
After suffering a traumatic injury it is essential that you have access to rehabilitation that addresses physical and psycho-social needs. Without this expertise there is a chance that recovery could take longer and not reach the levels originally intended, causing long-term implications for you and your formal and informal carers delaying your return to the community and everyday life.
Do major trauma patients need specialist rehabilitation?
Post-acute, i.e., after initial hospital treatment, care often takes the shape of specialist rehabilitation. This part of the rehabilitation journey delivers specialist recovery services in a hospital setting. This can include spinal cord injury, amputee and neuro-rehabilitation. Many patients who have suffered major trauma will find that they are unable to access some of these specialist rehabilitation and intermediate care services due to strict admission criteria and the high demand from other patients.
As such, the provision for complex musculoskeletal injuries, e.g., multiple fractures is more limited. Currently within England there are between 1–8 NHS specialist rehabilitation beds for adult trauma per million population, with less than 200 NHS specialist rehabilitation beds being used for musculoskeletal trauma. Private sector services are also very limited.
Dependent upon your injuries, you might need specialist rehabilitation but due to the limited availability of these services, you might not receive the specialist rehabilitation you need. Having professional support and guidance from an early stage in your rehabilitation journey will help you gain access to the correct rehabilitation services at the correct times during your recovery. We can help you with the professional support required to ensure you receive specialist rehabilitation.
Is there rehabilitation for major trauma patients to get back into work?
If you have suffered an injury that prevents you from returning to work it can be a horrible time for your self-confidence. Being absent from the workplace through sickness or injury can damage your quality of life and your self-esteem; even though at first it might seem a daunting task to return to work, with the right type of support on your rehabilitation journey you can return to work in an effective and meaningful way.
Vocational rehabilitation (“VR”) is the service of helping a person with a health problem to return to and remain in work. The idea is to create a clear set of goals and manageable targets that restores the capacity for work on the rehabilitation journey and translates that into an active plan. There should be communication between you, healthcare and rehabilitation services and the workplace in order to be as effective as possible.
VR is often delivered by an occupational therapist (“OT”) or by a specialist VR provider and aims to create a step-by-step plan designed to break return to work into smaller, more manageable goals.
There are many different needs within the rehabilitation journey but, with our support and the help of the rehabilitation and recovery services within the NHS, it can be a successful one for all those suffering major trauma. This could be finding the right type of physio for a particular physical problem, putting together a plan of action for care at home, delivering adjustments to your home to allow you to live a full life, or putting in place building blocks that allow future education and employment.