The new frontiers of rehabilitation medicine in people with chronic disabling illnesses

Domenico Scrutinio, Anna Giardini, Luca Chiovato, Antonio Spanevello, Michele Vitacca, Mario Melazzini, Gianni Giorgi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Because of the demographic shift and the increased proportion of patients surviving acute critical illnesses, the number of people living with severely disabling chronic diseases and, consequently, the demand for rehabilitation are expected to increase sharply over time. As underscored by the World Health Organization, there is substantial evidence that the provision of inpatient rehabilitation in specialized rehabilitation units to people with complex needs is effective in fostering functional recovery, improving health-related quality of life, increasing independence, reducing institutionalization rate, and improving prognosis. Recent studies in the real world setting reinforce the evidence that patients with ischemic heart disease or stroke benefit from rehabilitation in terms of improved prognosis. In addition, there is evidence of the effectiveness of rehabilitation for the prevention of functional deterioration in patients with complex and/or severe chronic diseases. Given this evidence of effectiveness, rehabilitation should be regarded as an essential part of the continuum of care. Nonetheless, rehabilitation still is underdeveloped and underused. Efforts should be devoted to foster healthcare professional awareness of the benefits of rehabilitation and to increase referral and participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Internal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Critical Illness/rehabilitation
  • Disabled Persons
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Ischemia/rehabilitation
  • Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine/trends
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive/rehabilitation
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Recovery of Function
  • Stroke Rehabilitation/standards


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