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What is Community Rehabilitation?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Community rehabilitation is a program of recovery for individuals with physical injuries, mental illnesses, or addictions. It can take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting, where professionals provide individualized therapy to help people overcome their obstacles and transition back into society. Community-based rehabilitation programs focus on helping people rebuild relationships, teaching them how to live independently, and providing occupational and educational resources.

In physical therapy centers, community rehabilitation programs offer individuals the opportunity to recover from their injuries while preparing for a return to normal living. Depending on their specific circumstances, patients might attend intensive therapy sessions to relearn how to walk, eat, or speak. Physical therapists also provide rehabilitation services to people with permanently debilitating injuries, such as brain trauma or the loss of a limb. Such people are taught how to thrive in their personal and professional lives despite their disabilities.

Community rehabilitation in mental health facilities helps patients with developmental disabilities and behavioral problems integrate back into the general population. Patients may receive individual counseling, medications to control their illnesses, and vocational training. Mental health professionals, caseworkers, and psychologists facilitate interactions between patients, their families, and members of their community. When patients show significant progress and demonstrate the ability to care for themselves, rehabilitation centers often make arrangements for them to move into halfway houses or independent living settings.

Many substance abuse treatment centers focus on the importance of community. Inpatient treatment centers frequently employ community rehabilitation techniques to assist clients in regaining control of their lives. Counselors often hold one-on-one and group therapy sessions so that clients can discuss their struggles and figure out ways to manage life outside of the rehabilitation center. Clients are usually allowed to meet with their families and go to various community events so they may learn how to handle situations without the aid of drugs or alcohol. They are encouraged to become active, productive members of their communities.

Community rehabilitation centers often help people find appropriate vocational and educational opportunities to pursue after treatment. Programs might provide resources and information about job openings and help clients schedule interviews, prepare resumes, and find transportation to and from job sites. Caseworkers may also investigate schooling opportunities and help clients decide on appropriate educational paths. Perhaps the most important resources offered at community rehabilitation centers are encouragement and hope that individuals may become better people and enrich the lives of others through their relationships and service within their communities.

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Discussion Comments
By Perdido — On Jul 17, 2011

My great-uncle received wonderful help from the Vocational Rehabilitation and Vet Success Program. This program helps veterans who became disabled during service with job training, job seeking, and keeping their jobs. If a veteran is so disabled that he cannot work, the program helps him live as independently as he possibly can.

Uncle Henry lost part of his leg, and he had trouble finding employment afterward. The program evaluated him to determine what he would be skilled at and to what type of job his interests would be best suited. They provided training and helped him develop a resume.

They paid his way through vocational school and helped him get an apprenticeship. If it weren’t for this program, Uncle Henry would probably have wound up homeless.

By lighth0se33 — On Jul 16, 2011

I have an aunt who had a stroke a couple of years ago. She lost her ability to say anything other than the word, “Yeah,” and the mobility of her left arm is limited.

Everyone blamed her husband for not taking her to the hospital right away when she complained that one side of her face was drooping. She ended up driving herself there, and by the time she got admitted, she had severe damage.

No one knows why, but her husband did not take her to therapy afterward. We all believe that she could have recovered with the aid of community healthcare, had she been admitted to a facility. It is a tragedy that did not have to happen.

By Oceana — On Jul 15, 2011

When my brother lost his girlfriend in a car wreck, he also lost his mind. He absolutely could not deal with the pain, so he turned to drugs.

He came to my house crying one night because he had passed out earlier and accidentally spilled bleach all over his favorite photo of her. He told me he knew that he needed help.

We drove to the community rehabilitation center and he vowed to try his best to recover with their help. He truly was ready for a change, but he just needed help getting over this impossibly high hurdle.

They did wonders with him, and he has been clean for two years. He has a steady job, and though he says he still isn’t ready to date anyone, I believe that eventually he will be, and when he does meet the right girl, she will bring him back to life fully.

By shell4life — On Jul 15, 2011

My mother developed agoraphobia, and it got so bad that she refused to leave the house. We knew we had to get her some help for this debilitating mental illness, so we talked her into going to a community health and rehabilitation center.

During her stay, the therapists focused on treating her anxiety. They taught her relaxation techniques and ways to manipulate her breathing and heart rate. They gave her tips on how to manage stress.

The most terrifying aspect of her treatment was when they asked her to visualize herself in a situation that would bring her panic. At first, she could barely handle doing this, but as she became more in tune with relaxation methods and ways to cope with stress, she managed to imagine herself in progressively worse situations while keeping her cool.

By drtroubles — On Jul 14, 2011

My best friend works at a community rehabilitation center, which helps youth with emotional issues make lasting friendships and deal with their problems. She finds the work very rewarding and is always surprised by how important these centers are for the patient’s recovery.

My friend often tells me about a certain youth that has struggled with borderline personality disorder for years has become much more sociable after exposure to others in the community rehabilitation center.

Does anyone know of a story where this kind of center has really helped a person to progress as an individual and help them get back on their feet?

I am always interested in hearing inspirational stories from those who have struggled the most in life.

By surfNturf — On Jul 14, 2011

@Moldova - I agree with you and I wanted to add that rehabilitation hospitals that offer rehab care for patients that need physical and occupational therapy are also important because they help the patient restore their mobility.

My friend had her father in a rehab center, and she said that he was offered physical therapy seven days a week for two sessions a day. He also received occupational therapy which allowed the therapist to help him with his normal day to day activities like dressing himself,cooking for himself, and even driving a car.

She said that Medicare usually covered the rehab stay for up to 20 days for 100%, but after that the coverage fell to 80% up to one hundred days. Luckily he was only in the rehab center for two weeks because if he had been there three weeks or more the family would have had to pay an additional $140 per day which is still expensive.

I think that working in a rehab center like this must be rewarding because the patients are probably thrilled when they get their mobility back.

By Moldova — On Jul 14, 2011

@Icecream17 - I think that many of these food addictions are emotionally based because a lot of people that have issues with food are trying to cover up another problem. I think that getting cognitive behavioral therapy in which the patient not only isolates what triggers them to overeat, but replaces the behavior with something other than eating helps.

It could be exercising, or painting, or even talking on the phone. Usually a therapist will also have the patient keep a log of what they ate and how they felt in order to find out the triggers. I think that awareness of the problem is really the first step in conquering the problem.

The rehab centers really help the patient take steps in treating the addiction, but they will never truly recover because this will always be a lifelong problem that they will have to watch out for.

By icecream17 — On Jul 13, 2011

@Brickback - I agree and I wanted to add that there are health and rehabilitation centers for those with food addictions as well. I was watching a television program about an inpatient rehab center that housed people with food addictions.

Some of these people were morbidly obese and others were very thin. The therapist not only weighed these people every week, but she took away any books, and other personal belongings that they had. She wanted to strip her clients from anything that they could be comfortable with so that they had to face why they had the food addiction in the first place.

These clients often rebelled and did not want to participate in a lot of the activities because it took them out of their comfort zone. The therapist felt that only when these clients were taken out of their comfort zone could they really deal with the pain that has caused them to rely on food for comfort.

The therapist also had a similar problem which is why she chose to open a rehab center and help people with food addictions. There was a lady on the show that realized that her reason for becoming an anorexic bulimic was a result of the rejection that she felt as a child.

Her mother never felt that she could do anything right and she was never able to please her mother. This was her way of punishing herself and trying to get to the ideal weight that was never good enough for her.

By BrickBack — On Jul 12, 2011

I think that community residential rehabilitation is important because usually when a person that has an addiction goes into rehab they confront their problems head on.

People with destructive additions like alcohol and drugs need to realize that their life is in jeopardy if they continue to use the drugs and in a rehab center they are forced to withdraw from the drugs and given medication to help the transition.

They are also offer counseling which helps the addict deal with the reasons for the addiction. I think that when an addict like Charlie Sheen is doing his own rehab at home is really kidding himself. These rehab centers take away all of your comforts so that you confront the problem of the addiction head on.

Sometimes this type of reality is really hard for a lot of people to face so they avoid responsibility and don’t go to these community rehab facilities where they are held accountable.

By sunnySkys — On Jul 11, 2011

@indemnifyme - I think community rehabilitation sounds like a good option for people with drug addiction. In my opinion people are more likely to succeed when they have the support of family, friends and community.

By indemnifyme — On Jul 11, 2011

I know someone who went to community rehab for drug addiction. The center put a lot of emphasis on group therapy and there were certain days that family and friends could come visit. They also took a few outings during the period of time when they were there.

I gather that some places that do rehab for drug addiction don't allow the patients to leave the center at all for the whole thirty days. I think that's a little ridiculous and sets them up for a total culture shock when they emerge sober after the thirty days. I think the gradual reintegration approach of community therapy is much better.

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