Physical Rehabilitation vs. Restorative Healthcare

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Physical rehabilitation and restorative healthcare are complementary, but very different from one another. They occupy quite different spaces on the continuum of care, and each has its own separate and distinct goals and objectives. In addition, the care is delivered by two different sets of professionals.

Physical Rehabilitation

Physical rehabilitation is the process of restoring the person to their highest possible level of physical, psychological, social, or economic function. In physical rehabilitation trained professional therapists are responsible for evaluating patients and their needs and then designing plans of care that will meet those goals. As many as one-third of all people over the age of 65 could benefit from rehabilitation whether due to a lifelong physical disability or due to a disability that is a result of an accident, surgery, or illness. It can be delivered in a variety of settings—regular acute-care hospitals, inpatient physical rehabilitation facilities, outpatient rehabilitation facilities, and in the patient’s home.

The scope of services that might be included in this category is rather broad and might include such activities as re-learning activities of daily living, recovering speech skills after a stroke, regaining physical strength and range of motion after an accident, and learning new ways of moving or accomplishing tasks after an injury, accident, joint replacement, or other type of surgery. Typically, physical therapists will work with a patient’s physician and perform their own musculoskeletal examinations and evaluations and establish a treatment plan that is unique to each patient.

Just as the scope of services that might be included in physical rehabilitation is rather broad, a physical therapist’s options for treating patients are equally broad. Treatment typically includes exercises designed to build strength and restore range of motion while reducing pain in joints and/or muscles. Ultrasound and acupuncture may also be used as complementary therapies.

Restorative Healthcare

When a patient has met their physical rehabilitation goals and is discharged from rehabilitation, what happens next can make a big difference for the patient. Does the patient maintain the progress that they made in physical rehabilitation or do they lose ground? The answer can depend on whether or not there is a plan for restorative healthcare to follow physical rehabilitation.

While physical rehabilitation is performed by licensed physical therapists, in restorative healthcare the evaluation, plan of care, and much of the care itself is provided by nursing staff. The assessments and the care are typically less complex than those provided in physical therapy. Restorative programs help ensure that patients retain the skills gained in physical therapy and prevent declines that can impact the quality of a patient’s life.

While there are differences between physical rehabilitation and restorative healthcare, both cover a broad spectrum of treatments and services. Restorative healthcare services might include exercises to maintain or improve a patient’s range of motion, fall prevention, assistance with splints, braces and prosthetics, training on how to move within and transfer from and to a bed, assistance with eating and swallowing and maintaining activities of daily living such as grooming, dressing and toileting,

If you would like to learn more about physical rehabilitation and restorative healthcare, please click here: https://www.healthstream.com/resource/blog/home-or-facility-the-pros-and-cons-of-in-home-medical-care

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