After a serious injury, illness or surgery, you may recover slowly. You may need to regain your strength, relearn skills or find new ways of doing things you did before. This process is rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation often focuses on

  • Physical therapy to help your strength, mobility and fitness
  • Occupational therapy to help you with your daily activities
  • Speech-language therapy to help with speaking, understanding, reading, writing and swallowing
  • Treatment of pain

Rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology services are a key component of rehabilitation program.

The type of therapy and goals of therapy may be different for different people. An older person who has had a stroke may simply want rehabilitation to be able to dress or bathe without help. A younger person who has had a heart attack may go through cardiac rehabilitation to try to return to work and normal activities. Someone with a lung disease may get pulmonary rehabilitation to be able to breathe better and improve their quality of life.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation is the health care specialty focused on restoring the health and functional abilities of people after acute illness or injury such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, heart surgery, amputation, joint replacement, sports injuries or spinal disorders. Working together, physiatrists, psychologists, nurses, therapists and scientists help patients return to their highest levels of independent functioning. Psychologists and neuropsychologists help patients and families understand and manage physical, cognitive, and emotional problems associated with recovery from injury or illness. Psychological and neuropsychological assessments are an integral part of rehabilitation services. Neuropsychological testing evaluates a patient’s cognitive functioning in a wide range of domains such as memory, attention, language, affect, and problem-solving skills.

Rehabilitation Psychology services include behavioral and psychological interventions to aid patient and their families in managing chronic illness, chronic pain, and disability.

Neuropsychological rehabilitation is concerned with the amelioration of cognitive, emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral deficits caused by an insult to the brain. Major changes in neuropsychological rehablitation (NR) have occurred over the past decade or so. NR is now mostly centered on a goal-planning approach in a partnership of survivors of brain injury, their families, and professional staff who negotiate and select goals to be achieved. There is widespread recognition that cognition, emotion, and psychosocial functioning are interlinked, and all should be targeted in rehabilitation. This is the basis of the holistic approach. Technology is increasingly used to compensate for cognitive deficits, and some technological aids are discussed. Evidence for effective treatment of cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial difficulties is presented, models that have been most influential in neuropsychological rehabilitation are described, and the review concludes with guidelines for good practice.

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