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The importance of personalized rehabilitation plan

The Importance of Personalized Rehabilitation Plans

A personalized rehabilitation plan is a crucial element in the recovery process for patients who have experienced trauma or undergone surgery. It consists of the Individual Rehabilitation Project (IRP), which is a detailed treatment plan designed specifically for the patient by the Specialist in Rehabilitation Medicine, taking into account the individual needs of the patient and the type of injury or surgical procedure undergone, and is carried out with the assistance of a Physiotherapist. Through a rehabilitation plan, it is possible to restore muscle function, improve joint mobility, and reduce pain. Moreover, it is essential for preventing complications of immobilization procedures, such as muscle atrophy, joint stiffness, and deep vein thrombosis. To draft the suitable IRP tailored to the patient’s specific needs, in relation to the phase of the pathology, the Physiatrist conducts a physiatric examination.

The Physiatric Examination: Objectives and Phases

The physiatric examination is a crucial moment in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal, post-traumatic, chronic, and neurological pathologies. This medical process is managed by the expert in physical medicine and rehabilitation: the physiatrist. The main objective of the physiatric examination is to assess the patient, plan a personalized rehabilitation plan based on achievable goals for the patient, and potentially monitor progress.
Here are the phases in which it is divided:
  • Medical history: This initial phase involves a dialogue between the patient and the physiatrist. The doctor collects information about the patient’s current and past health conditions, symptoms, lifestyle habits, and work and sports activities.
  • Physical examinations: It consists of evaluating posture, mobility, muscle strength, sensitivity, and reflexes. The examination may also include specific tests to assess the functions of individual nerves or muscle groups and the presence of pain or joint limitations.
  • Functional Assessment: The doctor assesses the patient’s ability to perform daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, lifting objects, or performing work tasks. This assessment allows the physiatrist to estimate the impact of disability on the patient’s quality of life and identify areas that require rehabilitation intervention.
  • Diagnosis and Rehabilitation Plan: Based on the information collected during the medical history, physical examination, and functional assessment, the physiatrist establishes a functional diagnosis and develops the patient’s IRP.

Definition of the Personalized Rehabilitation Plan and Exercises

The IRP is a document that describes the therapeutic goals and treatment modalities for the individual patient. This must be shared by a team of healthcare professionals in addition to the Physiatrist: physiotherapists, orthopedists, and potentially nurses, where the patient requires assistance such as dressings or therapies. Generally, the IRP may include:
  • Physical therapies (e.g., electrostimulation, ultrasound, laser)
  • Manual therapies (e.g., joint mobilization, massage therapy, manipulations))
  • Specific therapeutic exercises to be performed on the bed, in the gym, or in water
  • Psychological interventions, if necessary
  • Ergonomic adaptations or technical aids for discharge.
The IRP may also include a home exercise program that the patient must follow to ensure steady progress or to maintain achieved goals. The duration of the IRP varies depending on the phase of the pathology (acute or chronic, any time distance from the acute event), severity and complexity of the disability, patient’s age, comorbidities, and treatment response. In general, rehabilitation programs can last from a few weeks to several months. However, the main goal is to achieve significant and sustainable functional improvement over time, regardless of the duration of the rehabilitation pathway.

The personalized rehabilitation plan at MiniHospital “Sandro Pertini”

Thanks to a multidisciplinary and highly skilled healthcare team, MiniHospital “Sandro Pertini” creates personalized rehabilitation projects. Additionally, the facility features a gym equipped with state-of-the-art machines and tools.

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