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What is Veterans' Rehabilitation?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2019
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Veterans' rehabilitation can refer to any services offered by a country to former or present members of its armed forces, particularly when any of these become injured or ill due to service. There are some easy to guess veterans’ rehabilitation categories, like all manner of physical therapy and occupational therapy given when significant physical injury occurs. Perhaps less obvious, though becoming more recognized, are psychological services required to treat post traumatic stress syndrome acquired after service. Related to this can be things like drug and alcohol treatment. Part of rehabilitation, may be less medically oriented and lean toward helping vets transition from service to jobs or school in the non-military world.

When some vets are injured, they may go to hospitals built to serve vets only. These could help soldiers recover from severe injuries like loss of a limb, crippling, or severe burns. Such veterans' rehabilitation hospitals may be designed to offer multiple services. They may help vets first with physical and occupational therapy. When a vet can only partially recover from severe injury, social workers, job counselors and others may also be on hand to help the vet make goals about the future when he or she leaves the hospital.

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Another form of hospitalization might occur if a vet is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. In some cases, this is grave enough to warrant psychiatric hospitalization. Drug or alcohol abuse treatment may require initial hospitalization also. However, hospitalization for these isn’t necessarily in a military veterans' rehabilitation hospital, and not all people who require rehabilitation are hospitalized, or stop requiring assistance when their medical needs are not as significant.

Sometimes veterans' rehabilitation can refer to services given outside of the hospital setting to treat physical and/or mental conditions. Lists of these services are usually offered through a person’s local veterans’ center. In the US this is called the Department of Veterans Affairs. Local chapters may give veterans lists of the various rehabilitation services available, and offer them near immediate access to help, and they may be able to provide meeting places to give some rehabilitative services to several vets suffering from the same condition. Putting veterans in touch with each other may prove healing in the context of group therapy.

The end goal of veterans' rehabilitation is to help vets ease back into civilian life despite the wounds of war or service, and whether these wounds are physical or emotional. Many consider providing support to the veteran, to help him or her recover and make plans for the future, a necessity. It is just one way of attempting to thank vets for their service and to give them the support they need to continue to enjoy life after injury, after service or both.

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