Rehabilitation – ideas and views in India

Rehabilitation in India

Rehabilitation is a broad and vast area of medical and healthcare field which is concerned with restoring an individual's ability to work and enjoy life as a "normal" (as we all know, normal is a very subjective term in healthcare) and healthy individual. This is typically after he or she has experienced a traumatic experience in their life - be it physical such as accidents and other injuries or mental such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression.

But in India, the term "Rehabilitation" is used in a very limited sense - at least by the general public.

To the general public, rehabilitation means a retreat or a camp where people suffering from drug addiction are sent to get rid of the addiction. That means that to the general public in India, rehabilitation means drug rehab.

This is something that we at Rehamo were surprised to find out at first. People kept calling our store to get appointments for their loved ones for de-addiction.  We used to (and still do) get at least three calls per week where we have to explain to them that we are not that kind of rehab centre.

This fact reveals two things: one is that people are desperately looking to get rid of their addiction, which is a great thing, and secondly, the need for people to understand and get exposed to the full scope of rehabilitation.

Here is where we come in to the picture. Our sole aim is to expose the vast and wonderful world of rehabilitation to the people of India. We are here to tell those who are in need that it is not so hopeless out there and there are things to help achieve their full potential.

 

Let us take an example that may be familiar to everyone - Stephan Hawking.

For those who don’t know, Stephan Hawking was an English theoretical physicist who held the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a prestigious chair previously held by legends such as one of the greatest Mathematicians ever - Isaac Newton himself. Hawking contributed a lot into the field of theoretical physics, cosmology and mathematics. His best known contributions include the Hawking Radiation – a mechanism by which black holes radiate out energy and eventually disappear.

Hawking was a brilliant scientist and a genius who unfortunately acquired a neuro-degenerative disease called ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). He was diagnosed when he was 21 years of old and a final year student at Oxford University. The doctors who diagnosed him declared that he has at best 2 years remaining. But the wonders of modern technology (it was the late 1960s, so compared to today, the technology were not that wild) allowed him to continue to pursue his field for decades to come.

It is his invincible determination and the help of rehabilitation aids that gave humanity a deeper picture of the cosmos. So in a utilitarian sense, the rehab aids that helped him not only made his and his family’s life better, it improved the understanding of all of humanity.

You can imagine what would’ve happened if Hawking lived in India. Even in today’s India, there is a huge lack of awareness about the range of aids available to improve the life of differentially abled people.

Another common example that we can take is our hospitals.

In our hospitals, to transfer patients from one bed to another or from wheelchair to bed, we still follow old ways of lifting the patients by muscle strength of the nurses alone. This can be bad for the patient as well as the caretakers and may cause further injury that could worsen the situation. Today we have a wide range of equipment and aids to safely transfer patients, but unfortunately they are not widely used in Indian hospitals.

We hope that our outreach will help people achieve their true potential and live a dignified life and also, help them contribute to society. This not only will improve their quality of life, but also, their satisfaction with life. Studies have shown that the more a person contributes to society, the happier and more content he is with his life.

And that is our ultimate goal.

---  Team Rehamo