This month our Founder and Clinical Director, Chris Wynne sets out to dispel any myths which may exist around ‘intensive rehabilitation’ and share his thoughts on exactly what it involves and why you don’t need to be an athlete to attend one of our programmes.
When we talk about our ‘intensive’ rehabilitation programmes it may create the impression that patients need to meet a certain level of fitness, physical ability or mobility. However, this is not the case, and our treatment programmes are always designed with the individual patient’s needs, goals and neurological condition in mind.
So what does intensive neurophysio involve exactly:
Before starting any intensive rehabilitation program, patients undergo a thorough assessment by our team to determine the most appropriate and effective approach to their rehabilitation. The intensity of the programme can then be tailored to meet the specific needs and capabilities of the individual.
Goal Setting and Progress Monitoring
Goal setting is a crucial aspect of intensive neurological physiotherapy. Therapists work with patients to establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
We always stress the importance of having a ‘functional’ goal in mind as we know from experience that movement, however small can be converted to function. So for example, a patient may approach us with a flicker of movement in their arm so they are unable to use that arm for function. On our intensive programme, sensors can be deployed to create an active outcome in a virtual environment and with enough repetition, the threshold for functional improvement can be exceeded.
Regular assessments and progress monitoring help track improvements and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.
Specialised Tailored Programs
Our intensive rehabilitation programmes will be designed not only with our patients’ goals in mind but also their capability and condition.
Programmes may be complemented by a variety of treatments, including hands-on manual techniques, task-specific exercises, functional activities, and the use of advanced technologies such as robotics or virtual reality.
For example, our unique three-pronged approach that we refer to as the ‘complete solution’ includes intensive rehab technology (robotics and virtual reality), specialist physiotherapy and a rehab gym where patients can work independently, but in a totally safe environment.
Frequency & Duration of Sessions
When we use the word ‘intensive’ in neurological physiotherapy, we’re talking about the frequency and duration of sessions and our recommended approach is always dependent on the patient’s objectives and capabilities.
We know from research that a patient needs to receive a minimum of 80 hours of rehab treatment for the physiological changes, known as neuroplasticity, to occur. However, our patients may opt to spread the 80-hour programme over 4, 5 or 7 weeks (equating to 20, 16 or 12 hours per week respectively) depending on their individual circumstances and tolerance.
The programme has been designed to incorporate breaks for refreshments, lunch and generally to re-charge the batteries.
Robotics & Virtual Reality Technology
The use of technology provides additional opportunities for intensive and targeted rehabilitation at a level which would have previously been difficult to achieve with traditional physiotherapy techniques and skills. Patients are able to increase the volume of practice, quality of therapy, achieve more sustainable improvements and generally achieve better outcomes with our robotics and virtual reality technology.
Intensive neurological physiotherapy often involves a multidisciplinary team, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals. By collaborating with a variety of complementary professions, our approach ensures a comprehensive and holistic strategy.
Home Exercise Programmes
Patients participating in intensive neurological physiotherapy programmes are also given home exercise programmes to continue their rehabilitation between scheduled sessions. This extends the overall intensity of the rehabilitation process and means that patients can continue their rehab when the programme finishes.
Here at The Rehab Physio we offer the opportunity for patients to come in for a day (or week if necessary) to meet the team, check out our facilities and get a feel for our approach and technology. We will spend time getting to know you and your goals and will then design a short trial programme which will be sufficient for you to decide if the intensive approach will be beneficial to you. For some of our patients, this helps to reduce any potential concerns or perceived risk so it’s an option which is worth exploring.
To conclude, it’s essential to note that the term ‘intensive’ is relative and will vary across different settings and individual patients’ needs. You certainly don’t need to be an athlete to work intensively and your programme will be designed to fit with your needs.