Neurorehabilitation is a complex medical process which aims to aid recovery from a nervous system injury, and to minimize and/or compensate for any functional alterations resulting from it.
In case of a serious disability, such as caused by a severe spinal injury or brain damage, the patient and their families' abilities, life style, and projects, are suddenly shattered. In order to cope with this situation, the person and their family must establish and negotiate a "new way of living", both with their changed body and as a changed individual within their wider community.
Thus, neurorehabilitation works with the skills and attitudes of the disabled person and their family and friends. It promotes their skills to work at the highest level of independence possible for them. It also encourages them to rebuild self-esteem and a positive mood. Thus, they can adapt to the new situation and become empowered for successful and committed community reintegration. Neurorehabilitation should be:
Holistic It should cater for the physical, cognitive, psychological, social and cultural dimensions of the personality, stage of progress and lifestyle of both the patient and their family.
Patient-focused Customized health care strategies should be developed, focused on the patient (and family).
Inclusive Care-plans should be designed and implemented by multidisciplinary teams made up of highly qualified and motivated practitioners experienced in multidisciplinary teamwork.
Participatory The patient and their family's active cooperation is essential. The patient and family must be well-informed, and a trusting relationship with the multidisciplinary team must be built.
Sparing Treatment must aim at empowering the patient to maximise independence, and to reduce physical impairment and reliance on mobility aids.
Lifelong The patient's various needs throughout their life must be catered for, by ensuring continuity of care all the way through from injury onset to the highest possible level of recovery of function. This may include addressing medical complications of the injury or illness later in life.
Resolving Treatment has to include adequate human and material resources for efficiently resolving each patient's problems as they arise.
Community-focused. It is necessary to look for the solutions best adapted to the specific characteristics of the community and to further the creation of community resources favouring the best possible community reintegration of the disabled person.
Journal of Brain Research