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Your care team
When you need rehabilitation after an illness or injury, a care team will help you reach your goals. Allina Health rehabilitation specialists and health care professionals who may lead your recovery may include the following health care professionals.
Your primary care provider guides your overall medical care. This is the first medical professional you should contact about any health concerns.
Physiatrists are specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They treat neurologic conditions, including brain injury. In complex medical cases, they coordinate a patient's overall medical care, directing a comprehensive team of rehabilitation professionals. Their main goal is to improve your quality of life after an illness or injury.
Physical therapists provide hands-on therapeutic exercise and training for people following an illness or injury. They teach patients how to take care of themselves and exercise properly to prevent re-injury in the future.
Occupational therapists give people the skills they need to participate in daily activities, from work to leisure, so they can live independent and satisfying lives. Occupational therapists enhance patient’s abilities by modifying the environment or by adapting the activity to make it easier to participate.
Speech therapists, formally referred to as speech-language pathologists, treat language and speech disorders, and help patients with swallowing difficulties. They also help people regain thinking, reasoning and remembering skills after an injury or illness.
Care navigators guide patients through the rehabilitation process beginning with services in the hospital and continuing throughout recovery. The help patients choose the right resources at the right time.
A clinical social worker is a professional counselor who helps patients and their families cope with problems related to personal, family or social situations. They also coordinate discharge planning, assist with financial problems and family conflicts, and help provide support for the patient and family.
Rehabilitation nurses plan and implement 24-hour nursing care for each patient, focusing on personal care and education for patients and their families.
Therapeutic recreation specialists help people continue their leisure interests and community life.
Psychologists help patients and their families cope with emotional, behavioral and intellectual changes. Neuropsychologists determine the effect an injury has had on a patient's thinking skills and understanding, and finds ways to help patients compensate for losses.
Other rehabilitation care team members
Nurse practitioners, dietitians, nutritionists, pharmacists, integrative health practitioners, respiratory therapists, chaplains and other health professionals may also participate in your rehabilitation and recovery.
Source: Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Reviewed by: Karl J. Sandin, MD, MPH, medical director, Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
First Published: 03/01/2011
Last Reviewed: 05/01/2010