Information for patients and families

Developing skills to cope with disability

Our facilities

Life Rehabilitation facilities are organised specifically with interdisciplinary rehabilitation in mind. They are accredited by the Department of Health according to a strict list of criteria, and are licensed as dedicated and specialised rehabilitation facilities by the Board of Healthcare Funders. The buildings are custom designed to ensure that they are accessible for all physical disabilities, including adapted bathrooms and enough home-style facilities to ensure that retraining is realistic for discharge. Specialised equipment is upgraded on an ongoing basis to ensure that treatment is consistent with international standards.

Life Rehabilitation units are the only rehabilitation units in South Africa licensed to charge a global tariff which includes all professional services (other than medication, ward stock and assistive devices) that the patient may need, irrespective of the amount of input required. Most private medical aids have a rehabilitation benefit for members, and the case manager will assist you in accessing funds to finance the rehabilitation programme.

The patient and family are at the centre of the rehabilitation team, as they are the people who are living the experience and adapting to its challenges. The admission case manager is a qualified health professional employed to guide you through the assessment and admission process.

The admission assessment is ideally done as soon as possible after the disabling incident, while the patient is in a hospital intensive care or high care unit. Thereafter, the case manager discusses the rehabilitation potential with the patient and his/her family, and provides feedback to the patient’s specialist and medical aid, to ensure funding for rehabilitation is authorised.

The admission is timed in consultation with all stakeholders to ensure the greatest possible benefit and involvement in rehabilitation.

Our team

The clinical team in each unit includes a rehabilitation doctor (who oversees all medical interventions and coordinates the rehabilitation process), rehabilitation nurses (responsible for daily and medical care, as well as functional retraining), physiotherapists (mobility retraining), occupational therapists (functional retraining), speech therapists (communication and swallowing skills retraining), psychologists (cognitive retraining and educational counselling), social worker (discharge planning, family counselling and support), and a dietician (restoring nutritional balance). The rehabilitation doctor unit ensures ongoing contact with the referring profession to ensure continuity. These practitioners are provided with weekly progress reports.

Active and ongoing team interaction is a key principle underpinning the comprehensive nature of our service and our ability to ensure that therapeutic goals are integrated and focused. Our teams meet regularly with each other and with the patient’s family, to discuss patient progress, the therapeutic programme, and discharge planning. The relevant managers are intrinsically involved in the process, and meet regularly with their clinical teams to ensure quality delivery.

The length of the rehabilitation programme is dependent on the team members’ assessment findings. The team will discuss the programme goals and predict the length of stay once all team members have assessed the patient, which is done within 24 hours of admission. The average length of stay is usually between four and eight weeks.

All patients are required to participate actively in their rehabilitation programme, which includes the ward routine of exercises, meals and visits, although families and caregivers are encouraged to be involved in the treatment during the day, where possible and practical.

Daily treatment includes intervention by all appropriate team members, to address medical, physical, cognitive and psychosocial goals of treatment.

Considerable emphasis is placed on the education of patients, their families and caregivers to improve their coping skills. Educated, empowered patients (and their families) thus gain improved knowledge, understanding and insight into their condition, thereby facilitating long term self-management. Patients leave the rehabilitation programme having participated in educational sessions with different team members, as well as having been provided with some written resource material to read at their convenience. This information includes advice and details about organisations and people that offer support services around specific diagnoses or disabilities.

Our therapy

Patient progress is carefully monitored and measured by the team, using a variety of clinical outcomes and internationally researched outcomes measuring systems called the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and Functional Assessment Measure (FAM).

Life Rehabilitation is actively involved in reviewing and updating the progress measures used by our clinical teams, to ensure that we measure all the domains of function relevant to daily life. The continual monitoring of progress gives the team the ability to adjust the programme on an ongoing basis to ensure the best outcome.

We offer outpatient assessment and treatment services for patients who no longer require inpatient care, as well as follow-up assessments to monitor ongoing progress and optimal functional independence. Our staff is also available to discuss challenges that the patient and families may face post-discharge, telephonically.

If you would like our admission case manager to arrange a rehabilitation assessment, please discuss this with your doctor and contact us at one of the telephone numbers or e-mail addresses provided later.

Our quality of services

Life Rehabilitation forms part of the Life Healthcare Group and were thus included in the group’s ISO 9001 multi-site certification which was achieved in 2007, but took the decision in 2009 to embark on a separate certification for the business, with an emphasis on specific rehabilitation processes and customer needs. Life Rehabilitation achieved this separate ISO 9001:2008 certification in February 2010. It is the first and only ISO 9001 certificated networked group of rehabilitation units in the country. This certification underpins Life Rehabilitation’s commitment and ability to provide its patients with world class rehabilitation services.

Having the ISO 9001:2008 certification confirms that there are quality management systems in place in all of our units which meet the internationally renowned ISO: 9001 standards. The quality of services in all our units is constantly measured and monitored and specific guidelines are in place which ensures that these high standards of quality are constantly upheld. This ensures that patients and their caregivers always receive the best quality of care they deserve.