If you have been told that you need rehabilitative therapy to aid in recovering from a medical incident, illness or surgery, or as a means of improving or managing functional deficits or disabilities, chances are you'll have questions about what to expect from this form of treatment. Here, we'll look into that question in regards to outpatient short term rehabilitation programs, giving you an idea of what to expect if you choose outpatient services to meet your rehabilitative needs.
While no two programs are exactly alike, there some basic elements you can expect to see in most of them. Among these are the following 4 things to expect from outpatient short term rehab.
1. Evaluation and treatment planning
Any short term rehab program should begin with a thorough evaluation. Factors that should be included in the evaluation process include your medical history, current state of overall health, any physical and/or medical limitations, your current ability levels and/or physical deficits, and your needs and desires as to daily activities. While having your person and your lifestyle examined in detail may seem intrusive, knowing these details is important to individualized treatment planning, allowing your therapists to set rehabilitative goals that are effective, realistic and relevant to your needs and your daily life.
2. Therapy sessions
Once your needs have been assessed in detail and a treatment plan is formulated to meet them, therapy sessions will be scheduled. Depending upon your individual needs and the services available at the clinic or rehab center you attend, this may include office appointments with physical, occupational and speech therapists, among others. Sessions are generally from 30 to 60 minutes in length, and you may start out with these sessions scheduled two or three days per week or more, depending upon your needs and the availability of therapists. As a rule, therapy sessions become less frequent over time as you make progress towards your treatment goals.
In most cases, patients who are enrolled in outpatient short term rehab will be expected to perform therapeutic exercises and/or activities at home between therapy sessions. Therapists involved in your treatment will prescribe these activities and instruct you as to how to safely complete them on your own. Following through with this homework is important to making steady progress towards your rehabilitation goals.
4. Progress evaluation and tracking
As you move through the rehabilitation process, your therapists will periodically assess your level of improvement. The purpose of this is to track your progress towards treatment goals and evaluate the effectiveness of the therapeutic interventions included in your treatment plan. This sort of evaluation and tracking provides your therapists the information they need to adjust your treatment plan along the way, if necessary, to better suit your needs. It also provides a means of determining when you have reached the point of maximum improvement and can be discharged from the program.
So there are the basics on what you can expect from outpatient short term rehab. An additional point that you should be aware of as you work towards your rehabilitation goals—especially if you have previous experience with inpatient short term rehab—is that outpatient programs tend to be less intensive overall. That means you can expect to spend a bit more time in reaching your rehabilitation goals than you would in an inpatient program. Knowing this is important to ensuring that you begin your experience with outpatient rehab with realistic expectations, prepared for its slower, more relaxed pace to avoid feelings of frustration or discouragement.