Comprehensive Rehab Services in the UK

In the UK, there are some excellent multi-disciplinary Comprehensive Rehab Services in the UK. However, too few patients have timely access to these services – a problem that exacerbates health inequalities.

People with long term health conditions and their families are often aware of the need for rehabilitation. But navigating the system to access the right care can be difficult.

One problem is that many services attempt to specialise in certain conditions, with pressure from patients to have a service for their specific condition (e.g. stroke, traumatic brain injury, limb loss, Parkinson’s disease). But this is almost impossible to achieve. Patients will never fit neatly into categories, and a service with expertise in a particular area is likely to have broad knowledge of other areas.

It is also possible for teams to develop specific expertise in a single aspect of rehabilitation – for example, assistive technology or the management of challenging behaviour. However, there is no reason why these skills should not be integrated into a wider rehabilitation service.

Unlocking Recovery: A Guide to Comprehensive Rehab Services in the UK

This collection of NIHR-funded research highlights evidence that integrating these different aspects of rehabilitation into single comprehensive services can improve the quality of rehabilitation. It can also reduce costs. The first study in this series to use high quality local level routinely collected data shows that it is possible for specialist rehabilitation services to make cost savings when compared with care that would be provided in their absence.

The authors of this study have used the UK Rehabilitation Outcomes Calculator (UKROC) database to collect patient-level information about every rehabilitation episode since its launch in 2004. These episodes are then analysed, verified and coded by UKROC’s team of researchers at Northwick Park Hospital, London.