Stages of Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is generally seen as the second stage in your recovery process, following your stay in hospital for surgical and related treatments.


Rehabilitation can often be a more difficult experience than even the hospital stay, because it is during rehabilitation that you begin to play a major role in your overall recovery and are encouraged to learn new skills, build physical and mental strength and confront the realities of independent living as a new amputee.


When you arrive at your Rehabilitation Centre you will be introduced to a team of health care providers who will assist you with your recovery and rehabilitation process. The rehabilitation team is usually made up of Nursing Staff, Doctors, Physiotherapists, Prosthetists, Occupational Therapists, Social Workers, Dieticians and possibly some leisure staff. Your rehabilitation team are there to help you regain your independence, and each health care provider will play a different and unique role in your rehabilitation.

Your Rehabilitation Team

A wide variety of medical and allied health care providers work in rehabilitation centres. Most people are aware of the roles of nurses and doctors, but for some amputees it can be the first time they have heard of or met with other providers who will play an important role in their recovery. To assist you to understand more about some of the other staff who will work with you during your rehabilitation centre stay, we have provided some brief descriptions below:


Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapists are trained to help people overcome limitations caused by injury or illness and their goal is to assist people to move towards independence and an improved well-being and quality of life. Your Occupational Therapist will assess your abilities and lifestyle, consult with you, your family and your health care providers and develop and treatment program to best suit your needs and capabilities. Your occupational therapist will assist you to adjust to your new physical condition so that you can actively participate in day-to-day life (eg. personal care, education/training, employment, social / recreational activities). Your Occupational Therapist is also responsible for sourcing wheelchairs and other mobility supports, assess your home / workplace and make recommendations and arrangements for adaptation / refurbishment (eg. putting in ramps for wheelchair access) and also arrange specialised driving / vehicle training and modifications.

Social Worker

A social worker works with individuals to assist them to realise their intellectual, physical and emotional potential. Social workers are professionals who advocate for disadvantaged members of society and work with individuals and groups to shape and change the conditions in which they live. Your social worker will work with you and your family to determine what psychological, community and government support you require during rehabilitation and as you move into independent living. A social worker is normally assigned to you by your rehabilitation centre, and is usually employed by the centre or by a relevant government department. Social workers can provide a range of support, including (but not limited to) housing assistance, government benefits advice, home support, determining eligibility for concession transportation discounts and concessions and provision of disability parking permits.




Physiotherapists assess, treat and prevent disorders in human movement caused by injury and disease. Your physiotherapist will assist you to regain your balance, flexibility, strength and stamina, and design an exercise program tailored to your capabilities and requirements. Your exercise program may include the use of gym facilities and sessions in a hydrotherapy pool. Your physiotherapist will work with you and teach you to use artificial limbs, wheel chairs and other movement devices safely, effectively and comfortably. If you have had a leg/s amputated, your Physiotherapist will also teach you the transfer method that will enable you to move around safely.


A prosthetist is a specialist in designing, fitting and fabricating artificial limbs. Your prosthetist will be responsible for the design, construction, supply and fitting of your prosthesis (artificial limb). Your prosthetist will work with you and your relevant health care providers to evaluate the most appropriate artificial limb and related components for your requirements. Because our bodies and needs change over time, and artificial limbs can get worn or damaged, it is likely that your prosthesis will need periodic adjustments or replacement. As such, relationships with prosthetists often last over many years, and over time both you and your prosthetist will gain a better understanding about what is right for you. Some amputees are, naturally, quite concerned about the initial and ongoing costs associated with the fitting and supply of an artificial limb. In some legitimate workplace or transport accidents some or all costs may be covered by a relevant insurance company. In other cases, costs may be covered by the public health system or your own private health insurance fund. If you are unsure about your entitlements, speak to your health care provider.



What do Rehabilitation
Centres Look Like?

Rehabilitation centres are generally set out in a similar way to hospitals – structured around wards, wings and specialised departments. Rehabilitation centres not only provide care for amputees, many often provide care to persons who have suffered other illnesses, conditions or injuries (eg. spinal injuries, acquired brain injuries).





For more information about Rehabilitation Centres speak to your health care provider or follow the links below.


Western Australia





South Australia

Northern Territory