Health Library

Health Library

Outpatient Rehabilitation

When you're recovering from an illness, surgery, or injury, you may need outpatient rehabilitation. This means you'll receive 1 or more types of therapy after you've been discharged from a hospital or clinic. You may go to an outpatient rehabilitation facility. Or, in some cases, treatment may take place in your home. The goal of this rehab is to help you heal and get back to your everyday activities.

Outpatient rehab after an accident or injury

As part of your recovery, you may begin by receiving care at a hospital and then move to outpatient treatment. Depending on the nature or extent of your injury, your treatment might be given by physical therapists, to help you regain muscle control and function. Or you may see a speech therapist. An occupational therapist can help you relearn how to go about your daily life. You might need other specialists, depending on your situation. A physiatrist, a doctor who is a rehabilitation specialist, may help plan and evaluate your rehab.

Outpatient rehab after surgery

Therapist working on a woman's kneeOccupational rehab is needed after many surgeries, such as a knee replacement. In this instance, you will likely need a physical therapist to help you learn how to walk with your new joint. A therapist can teach you special exercises to help strengthen the muscles around your knee. As you heal, your physical therapist will guide you through sets of these exercises. The therapist may have you use equipment, such as a stationary bike, to build up your strength. He or she also may recommend other activities, such as swimming or water aerobics, after your recovery.

Outpatient rehab after an illness

You will usually need outpatient rehab if you have a serious illness like a heart attack, stroke, or cancer. In these cases, your treatment will usually begin in the hospital. When you begin to improve, you will probably change to a program of occupational and physical therapy. You will also have supervised aerobic conditioning exercises a few times a week while at home.

Some illnesses, such as stroke, may need a combination of rehab programs. For example, you may need a speech pathologist to help you learn to speak again. You may also need a physical or occupational therapist to help you learn how to walk and go about your daily activities.

Outpatient rehab therapy for drug and alcohol abuse or addiction

Group therapyWhen you're recovering from addiction, you may get counseling at a facility before going home. After that, you'll keep getting counseling and/or medication as an outpatient. You shouldn't feel embarrassed about or ashamed of your rehab therapy. Drug addiction and abuse are illnesses, and they are common. Getting help is the first step to taking back control of your life.

Outpatient rehab for mental illness

Many mental health conditions may be treated with rehab. These include clinical depression and eating disorders. This kind of rehab is given by psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors. For instance, a therapist can help you find the cause of your depression. Then he or she can help you notice and change negative patterns of thinking. You can then regain your sense of vitality and pleasure in life.

Challenges of outpatient rehab

In many instances, people undergoing outpatient therapy have had a severe accident, illness, or other crisis that has turned their life upside down. It can be overwhelming and exhausting to figure out how to adapt from being in a hospital to living in the world at large.

Having trusted therapists to help you through every aspect of rehab – both physical and emotional – is critical. Often, you'll also need 1 or more caregivers to help you move from inpatient to outpatient care and assist in your overall recovery. 

Outpatient Rehabilitation - WellSpan Health

Author: Myers, Wyatt
Online Medical Reviewer: Bellendir, Trina, MSPT, CLT
Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Last Review Date: 2013-11-25T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2013-12-31T00:00:00
Published Date: 2013-12-31T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2012-03-21T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

I would like to:

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.