Rehabilitation in dementia care
Cameron, Ian D
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Multidisciplinary rehabilitation is increasingly accepted as valuable in the management of chronic disease. Whereas traditional rehabilitation models focussed on recovery, maintaining independence and delaying functional decline are now considered worthwhile aims even where full recovery is not feasible. Despite this, rehabilitation is notably absent from dementia care literature and practice. People with dementia report frustration with the lack of availability of structured post-diagnosis pathways like those offered for other conditions. Alternative terms such as ‘re-ablement’ are used to refer to rehabilitation-like services, but lack an evidence-base to guide care. This commentary will discuss possible reasons for the resistance to accept multidisciplinary rehabilitation as part of dementia care, and identifies the value of doing so for people with dementia, their families, and for health professionals.