Functional re-education and rehabilitation differs from remedial medicine in that the latter approaches the illness and its causes, whereas these methods aim to compensate the consequences of a condition, for example, the onset of a deficiency, an incapacity or a handicap.
To be fully efficient, functional re-education must be introduced the moment the illness is diagnosed and the rehabilitation procedure must begin as soon as an incapacity or disability is obvious.
What does rehabilitation mean at the beginning of the third millennium? Observations made during the last decade invite us to search for a new direction for rehabilitation in the dawn of the third millennium.
This is why the introduction of individualised therapeutic programmes is a true necessity. In a programme such as this, the patients and their families become active participants in the rehabilitation process. They are informed in detail of the objectives of their stay and the methods available to reach that goal. They give their consent both orally and even sometimes in writing, showing their commitment to participate actively during their treatments and during the evaluations carried out throughout their stay.
In addition to the therapeutic aspect, rehabilitation at the beginning of the 3rd millennium, must continue to give more and more importance to the evaluation process, which allows us to define what a patient can and what they need regarding their activities.
To reach such an objective, it is necessary to have permanent control on quality. This can be done by analysing and quantifying the results using interdisciplinary assessment tables and scales measuring patients' quality of life. The consequence of this is the necessity to constantly follow the latest research in rehabilitation. To measure and maintain quality control we have decided to participate in an accreditation process, which has led us to search for new ways of improving care . This accreditation procedure involves listening to patients and their families’ expectations and using auto-evaluation as a source for measuring progression, of the individual, the staff and the structure.
In this context, transparency is necessary; the quality control organisation must be independent of power and be motivated by education rather than punishment. In this matter their attitude is as important as their knowledge. This accreditation is an on-going procedure and must be renewed over time.
The consequences of this new orientation for rehabilitation is an evolution towards cost calculation per case involving both the care providers and the administration department with, as a result, a funding programme per groups of illnesses.