Programs that link people who have temporary or permanent disabilities with physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, respiratory therapists and other qualified rehabilitation professionals who can improve or restore the individual’s functioning, independence and overall quality of life.
Programs that are staffed by specialists who provide comprehensive diagnostic, treatment and management services for people who have a physical disability, either individually or as the leader of an interdisciplinary team. Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists (also known as physiatrists) focus on restoring function using physical means rather than surgery. They prescribe medication, order assistive devices such as a brace or an artificial limb, recommend therapy (e.g., heat and cold, electrotherapies, trigger point injections, massage, biofeedback and traction) and set up exercise programs. Problems most commonly treated by physiatrists include acute and chronic pain, sports injuries (joint injuries, sprains and strains), injuries to the spine or spinal cord, neck injuries, tendonitis, pinched nerves, peripheral nerve injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, traumatic brain injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia, arthritis and neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, polio and ALS. Physiatrists practice in rehabilitation centres, hospitals and private offices; and may have a broad practice or specialize in a particular area such as pediatrics, sports medicine, geriatric medicine or brain injury.
Programs that integrate treatment strategies associated with psychiatry, occupational therapy and psychiatric case management to help severely mentally ill individuals stabilize their clinical status, increase their ability to function within their environment with as little ongoing professional intervention as possible, and improve their overall quality of life. Services are provided within an intensive case management system and may include medication and supportive psychotherapy to alleviate symptoms; training in interpersonal and independent living skills with a focus on personal care and management, leisure skills, social interaction skills and vocational preferences and aptitudes; cognitive retraining; family psychoeducation; peer support; and assistance in gaining access to the resources and benefits to which they are entitled. The individual is actively involved in developing the treatment plan and selecting the types of training that will be relevant to his or her ongoing roles and relationships.
Programs that help individuals with mental, physical or developmental disabilities, substance abuse disorders, chronic health conditions or other problems develop new interests, sharpen their social skills and gain a sense of self-achievement through a structured series of leisure-time activities which may include arts and crafts, dance, drama, music, sports, games, social gatherings and community outings. Therapy goals may differ for different populations, e.g., improved hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills may be desired outcomes for people with physical disabilities.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.