Nature of the work
Rehabilitation medicine consultants provide medical advice and
interventions for adults with complex disabilities. The focus is
primarily on people of working age.
Working in rehabilitative medicine
The specialty has two main areas of activity:
neurological and locomotor rehabilitation. Neurological patients
include those with the following conditions:
- spinal injuries (these patients have specific services provided
through supra-regional centres)
- traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries, including
- progressive disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
The other principal area of work includes congenital or acquired
musculoskeletal disability or limb loss.
Consultants typically supervise inpatients in
a neurological rehabilitation unit, as well as providing clinics.
Additional activities include team meetings, family conferences,
home visits and community liaison.
Service planning is sometimes a key role,
particularly since the National Service Framework for Long-Term
Conditions has stimulated the redevelopment of rehabilitation
Rehabilitation medicine is a young specialty,
constantly evolving from its diverse roots. Current trends
- closer working relationships between spinal injuries and the
other neurological rehabilitation services
- closer working relationships between neurological
rehabilitation and other clinical neurosciences
- further differentiation of specific fields of interest within
the specialty, including further development of musculoskeletal
- increased focus on vocational rehabilitation
- further development of community-based specialist services, in
line with the National Service Framework for Long-Term
Rehabilitation programmes are carried out in
collaboration with the patient, the family and specialist
multidisciplinary teams. Control of problems requires specialist
medical management, and in some cases entails specific physical
interventions (such as botulinum toxin injections for spasticity).
Rehabilitative medicine (RM) consultants also assess patients for
complex assistive technologies, such as electronic environmental
controls and specialist wheelchair seating.
Associated sub specialties
Rehabilitation medicine involves close
relationships with a wide range of specialties, including:
- neurology and neurosurgery
- spinal medicine
- pain management
- vascular surgery
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