Lesser-known medical speciality can be highly relevant

I support the move to encourage young doctors to further their training to become generalists (MOH reviews doctors' training to become specialists; Oct 1).

There is a lesser-known speciality that medical students are given very little exposure to in school, and which, perhaps, even healthcare professionals know little of.

This is the field of rehabilitation medicine. Such specialists are known as rehabilitation physicians.

Rehabilitation medicine will be very relevant in the context of our ageing population and in our desire to treat the "whole person".

Rehabilitation physicians are involved in the diagnosis, assessment and management of individuals with disabilities due to illness or injury.

Patients can be of all ages, and have stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputations, musculoskeletal injuries, functional decline following an acute illness, or other debilitating health conditions, both at the acute and chronic stage.

These conditions often have no cure and their effects can affect the whole person.

Rehabilitation physicians lead and work in multidisciplinary teams across the entire healthcare continuum - from providing consultations in the intensive care unit and managing rehabilitation during in-patient care to community rehabilitation in order to "add what we can to life".

Rehabilitation physicians work to help these individuals achieve an optimal level of performance and to improve their quality of life.

They lead and work in multidisciplinary teams across the entire healthcare continuum - from providing consultations in the intensive care unit and managing rehabilitation during in-patient care to community rehabilitation in order to "add what we can to life".

Rehabilitation physicians can work in tandem with doctors specialising in areas such as family medicine, internal medicine, geriatrics and palliative care to meet the healthcare challenges ahead.

Wee Tze Chao (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2017, with the headline 'Lesser-known medical speciality can be highly relevant'. Print Edition | Subscribe