Neurological rehabilitation is designed to help treat patients with nervous system or neurological diseases. Rehabilitation aims to increase function, reduce debilitating symptoms, and improve a patient’s quality of life. The types of rehabilitation treatments recommended depend on the areas of the body affected by the neurological condition.
Any patient with a neurological condition may be referred for rehabilitation through a prescription or order provided by a doctor.
Symptoms that may prompt the need for neurological rehabilitation include:
- Muscle weakness and abnormal muscle tone
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty with daily activities such as eating, dressing, bathing, toileting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty speaking
- Impairments in thinking, memory and problem solving
- Impairments in vision or eye-hand coordination
Patients who benefit from neurological rehabilitation include, but are not limited to, those with the following diagnoses:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Brain Injury
- Brain Tumor
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT)
- Cerebral Hemorrhage
- Congenital Neurological Disorders
- Diabetic Neuropathy
- Herniated Disc
- Memory Disorders
- Movement Disorders
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Neuromuscular Disorders
- Parkinson's Disease
- Spinal Cord Injury
While a patient will still have a primary care medical team, the rehabilitation team provides additional treatments and therapies. The rehabilitation team consists of highly skilled professionals dedicated to each patient’s needs. The most appropriate treatment plan for each patient is developed after an evaluation. Neurological rehabilitation may include some of the following team members:
- Physiatrists are doctors who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
- Neuropsychologists see patients for cognitive and/or behavioral issues related to brain injury, stroke or other illnesses. They also work with patients who need help getting used to changes in their levels of ability. They may recommend cognitive therapy, stress reduction techniques or other treatments.
- Physical therapists help and treat patients with a disease or injury contributing to pain or to loss of strength, range of motion, balance or coordination. Their goal is to restore and maintain a person’s ability to move and do physical tasks.
- Occupational therapists assess how well patients can do daily tasks such as eating, dressing, toileting and bathing. Their goal is to help patients do as much on their own. Occupational therapists can perform vision assessments as ordered by the physician.
- Speech-language pathologists treat patients who have problems with speech and thinking skills. These problems are common among those who have had a stroke, brain injury or other changes to the nervous system. Speech-language pathologists also work with patients who have difficulty swallowing.
- Therapeutic Recreation Specialists help patients pursue leisure interests or develop new ones. They provide resources for support and for community involvement that a patient can continue with when they leave the inpatient rehabilitation unit.