Rehabilitation is key to improving wellbeing, independence, and quality of life. Yet many people are not able to access quality services. Find out why community rehabilitation is important and what the RCSLT is doing to make it a priority across the UK.

What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation is a process of assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support to help regain, maintain, or slow loss of function and reduce symptoms. It is personalised and targeted at the person’s own goals for recovery and improves wellbeing independence and quality of life.

Any person may need rehabilitation at some point in their lives, whether due to an injury, illness, surgery, long-term condition or disease, or reduce function due to age.

Rehabilitation is also critical to prevention – reducing the risk of falls and the development of long-term conditions. This in turn helps to prevent readmission to acute services and reduces social care needs.

How speech and language therapy helps

Speech and language therapists (SLTs) support rehabilitation by helping people to achieve their maximum potential for communication and swallowing function. They may work closely with other members of multidisciplinary rehabilitation teams, or as the sole practitioner in a person’s rehabilitation journey.

The need for rehabilitation

Despite a growing demand for quality rehabilitation, the need is not currently being fully met.

There are gaps in provision, and wait times are often too long. In addition, the benefits of rehabilitation are not well-known among the public, healthcare professionals and commissioners.

Community rehabilitation supports people to live as well as possible. It also has economic benefits – reducing the need for more costly health and social care, reducing hospital admissions and supporting independent living, or a return to work for some service users.

National policy guidance

The Community Rehabilitation Alliance

The RCSLT is part of the Community Rehabilitation Alliance (CRA), a collective committed to improving commissioning, planning and delivery of rehabilitation. The alliance includes 50 charities and professional bodies who are working to deliver effective, person-centred community rehabilitation services to all those who need them.

CRA resources

The following audit tools can support you and your service to ensure you are meeting the needs of people accessing your service and help to drive service improvements.

  1. Best practice standards: Director audit tool
  2. Best practice standards: Patient audit tool
  3. Best practice standards: Clinician audit tool

You might like to refer to the RCSLT’s health inequalities resources to support you.

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England policy

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UK-wide policy

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