Rehabilitation is a dynamic process of planned adaptive change in lifestyle in response to unplanned change imposed on the individual by disease or traumatic incident. The focus is not on cure but on living with as much freedom and autonomy as possible.
The concept of rehabilitation is not new and dates back from before the birth of Christ. Artificial limbs, one of the first aids to rehabilitation displayed at the Science Museum, London, have been found dating back to about 100 years BC. Most early rehabilitative measures were aimed at getting people back to work, i.e. "Restoring to working order" was an early definition of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation of patients with head injuries, however, was a difficult problem. Until fairly recently, most head injury management meant little more than "containment of the problem". Finding institutional care was the only management available. The psychological problems of patients with head injury were mostly overlooked or unknown. Many patients with behavioral, cognitive and emotional problems were dismissed as unmotivated and irresponsible and ended up in psychiatric institutions. It was after the First World War, when neurosurgery became a separate specialty, that patients with head injury began to be rehabilitated. Currently, the number of patients requiring rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury has increased through modern life style. This, together with improved early care, mean that more people are surviving the initial injury and there is good evidence of "improved" survival following head injury compared with outcomes 10-20 years ago .
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