Rehabilitation medicine is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation management of people with disabling medical conditions. It was developed primarily to meet the needs of young adults and those of working age, but aspects of the specialty, particularly relating to technical aids, provision of wheelchairs, orthotics or prosthetics, are relevant to people of all ages. The principal aims are to identify the impairments that limit activity and daily tasks; optimise physical and cognitive functioning; and modify personal and environmental factors to enable greater participation and quality of life. Rehabilitation medicine covers a large number of disabling conditions and is broadly divided into four main areas:
- neurological rehabilitation
- spinal cord injury rehabilitation
- limb loss or deficiency rehabilitation and prosthetics
- musculoskeletal rehabilitation
Most consultants will specialise in one or more of the above fields but in smaller hospitals it may be necessary to be expert in all these areas. Rehabilitation medicine consultants also have specialist expertise in assistive technology, including environmental control equipment, wheelchairs and orthotics; these are not disease specific and cover a wide range of complex disabilities.
Rehabilitation medicine is a good career option for those who wish to enjoy flexibility in their training or ultimate career post in terms of hours and work commitment. Posts in spinal injury and those with responsibility for early rehabilitation of in-patients may include acute on call duties. Other posts are quieter and fewer on-call commitments allows time to pursue research, non-clinical and managerial roles.
Entry into Rehabilitation Medicine training is possible following successful completion of both a foundation programme and a core training programme. There are four core training programmes for Rehabilitation Medicine training:
- Core Medical Training (CMT)
- Core Surgical Training
- Core Psychiatry Training
- General Practice Training
The curriculum for each specialty defines the process of training and the competencies needed for the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCT). The curriculum includes the assessment system for measuring trainees’ progress comprising workplace based assessment and knowledge based assessment.
Previous versions of the curriculum are no longer available online but copies can be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ARCP decision aid for each specialty defines the targets that have to be achieved for a satisfactory ARCP outcome at the end of each training year. ARCP decision aids were revised to reflect the changes to the assessment and review process from August 2014 and replace all previous versions.