When you're recovering from an illness, surgery, or injury, you may need outpatient rehabilitation. This means you'll receive 1 or more types of therapy after you've been discharged from a hospital or clinic. You may go to an outpatient rehabilitation facility. Or, in some cases, treatment may take place in your home. The goal of this rehab is to help you heal and get back to your everyday activities.
As part of your recovery, you may begin by receiving care at a hospital and then move to outpatient treatment. Depending on the nature or extent of your injury, your treatment might be given by physical therapists, to help you regain muscle control and function. Or you may see a speech therapist. An occupational therapist can help you relearn how to go about your daily life. You might need other specialists, depending on your situation. A physiatrist, a doctor who is a rehabilitation specialist, may help plan and evaluate your rehab.
You will usually need outpatient rehab if you have a serious illness like a heart attack, stroke, or cancer. In these cases, your treatment will usually begin in the hospital. When you begin to improve, you will probably change to a program of occupational and physical therapy. You will also have supervised aerobic conditioning exercises a few times a week while at home.
Some illnesses, such as stroke, may need a combination of rehab programs. For example, you may need a speech pathologist to help you learn to speak again. You may also need a physical or occupational therapist to help you learn how to walk and go about your daily activities.
Many mental health conditions may be treated with rehab. These include clinical depression and eating disorders. This kind of rehab is given by psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors. For instance, a therapist can help you find the cause of your depression. Then he or she can help you notice and change negative patterns of thinking. You can then regain your sense of vitality and pleasure in life.
In many instances, people undergoing outpatient therapy have had a severe accident, illness, or other crisis that has turned their life upside down. It can be overwhelming and exhausting to figure out how to adapt from being in a hospital to living in the world at large.
Having trusted therapists to help you through every aspect of rehab – both physical and emotional – is critical. Often, you'll also need 1 or more caregivers to help you move from inpatient to outpatient care and assist in your overall recovery.