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What is Neurological Rehabilitation?

By Apricus Health

22nd November 2022

Neurological rehabilitation refers to the process of engaging in therapy to improve function and well-being.

Designed for people with diseases, injuries, or disorders of the nervous system, neurological rehabilitation is a medically-supervised program for people who have experienced an illness or injury like a stroke, brain haemorrhage, traumatic brain injury or multiple sclerosis.

What does neurological rehabilitation involve?

Neurological rehabilitation, also called neurorehabilitation, is a type of therapy. This type of rehabilitation therapy aims to help clients that have suffered neurological conditions and injuries overcome specific physical and cognitive issues and learn new skills. The focus of neurological rehabilitation is to improve the client’s quality of life, independence, and cognitive and motor functions for activities such as :

  • Moving around
  • Eating and drinking
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Using the bathroom
  • Speaking and understanding others
  • Finding orientation within a space

Therefore, neurological rehabilitation will usually involve a mixture of different types of therapies, as the program will be designed and tailored to each client’s needs. The exact rehabilitation methods used will differ from client to client. Generally, it will involve three fields of therapy:

  • Physical therapy is the part of neurological rehabilitation that focuses on the client’s physical recovery needs. This includes building up strength in muscles again, increasing the range of motion, the clients’ balance, and coordination.
  • Speech therapy is an important therapy form that helps the client to regain the ability to speak and swallow again. For example, after a stroke, it can take clients’ practise and patience to overcome the hemiplegia in speech.
  • Occupational therapy is the therapy form that focuses on regaining skills that are needed for daily life. This includes things like dressing, eating, and grooming. It will focus on the client becoming more independent, and enabling them to live with minimal care.

Neurological rehabilitation will typically work as a follow-up program to the acute treatment in the hospital after the initial disease or injury, such as a stroke, brain haemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, or multiple sclerosis.

The process of neurorehabilitation

After the so-called acute phase, which describes the initial treatment at a hospital, the client will begin to work with a multi-disciplinary team of therapists for neurological rehabilitation. This process will look like:

1. Neurorehabilitation as an inpatient

Inpatient neurological rehabilitation refers to the early, intensive medical treatment of clients on-site at the hospital. During this process, a holistic and structured program is designed by doctors, neurologists, nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists for the client. Early neurological rehabilitation focuses on reducing symptoms, discomfort, and improving the client’s well-being in general.

Step 2: Neurorehabilitation in the outpatient stage

During the early outpatient stage of neurological rehabilitation, doctors and therapists will continue to work closely with clients to ensure their rehabilitation is moving along schedule. Outpatients can complete their rehab in a less intensive setting and often combine a mixture of group and individual therapy sessions. Generally, the client is able to spend the night at home but will come in as a day patient to continue working on increasing cognitive and motor functions.

3. Neurorehabilitation in home-based stage

During the home-based stage of neurological rehabilitation, the physiotherapists, neurological practitioners, occupational therapists, and client will continue to work on recovery, both in and outside of the hospital. The main difference is that this part of rehab will be designed to complete at home. This is the area in which occupational therapists become heavily involved in helping clients to complete tasks and exercises more independently.

4. Neurorehabilitation in the community-based stage

Lastly, community-based neurological rehabilitation will involve the client’s step back into their community after a neurological injury. This is a big step back into living a normal day-to-day life without heavy medical intervention, and can involve things like joining a support group, participating in community activities, and finding employment. For many who have experienced a neurological disability or injury, they are able to regain a lot of their abilities that they had prior to the injury and continue living an independent life.


Neurological rehabilitation, or neurorehabilitation, is vital part of the process of those who have experienced brain injuries or neurological disfunction regaining the cognitive and motor skills that so many of us utilise every day. Combining a multidisciplinary approach between neurologists, physicians, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists, the goal of neurorehabilitation is to help and empower the client become as independent as possible.

At Apricus Health, we have occupational therapists, physiotherapists and therapy assistants that work collaboratively with you to provide individualised, evidence-based interventions to help you achieve your goals and live the life you want. 

If you’d like to learn more about neurological rehabilitation, occupational therapy, or allied health care in North Queensland, get in touch with Apricus Health today.