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Breakthrough in medical rehabilitation: “green corridors” for seriously ill patients, more outpatient services closer to home

Date

2022 05 30

Rating
1
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In urgent cases, patients with serious conditions, such as stroke, heart attack, arthroplasty, severe trauma, cancer patients, will be referred for medical rehabilitation via “green corridors”, which means they will receive services in the shortest possible time in priority order. Children receiving medical rehabilitation in hospitals will also be referred to the “green corridors”. Importantly, patients will receive rehabilitation services through the “green corridors” not only in public but also in private medical rehabilitation facilities. This procedure is planned to enter into force at the beginning of next year.

The speed and quality of medical rehabilitation services are key to the success of treatment for people with serious illnesses. This is especially important for people after various injuries, strokes, heart attacks, complex operations and chronic illnesses. They need continuous care from doctors of different specialties immediately after treatment to ensure that their physiological conditions are restored as quickly and as fully as possible, that the recovery process is as smooth as possible or that disability does not progress.

This is why the “green corridor” principle was developed, to ensure that patients with serious conditions do not have to wait in a general queue for medical rehabilitation, but that these services are introduced in a timely manner and that their health status is improved as efficiently as possible.

Integration of health services is another issue that needs to be addressed. Currently, if patients’ health deteriorates during medical rehabilitation, they are referred from a specialised rehabilitation facility to a multidisciplinary hospital for individual consultations or treatment by specialists in other fields. As practice shows, this causes a lot of inconvenience for both patients and the staff of the facilities. The process is not consistently coordinated, the visits are delayed, unscheduled and therefore of poor quality, which means that instead of several health problems being treated in one facility in a comprehensive manner, the patient is taken several times to another facility to see different specialists.

To change this situation and to ensure that rehabilitation patients with serious conditions are treated consistently and qualitatively, public mono-profile (specialised) rehabilitation hospitals will be merged with multi-profile hospitals. Such changes are foreseen in Palanga Rehabilitation Hospital, Palanga Children's Rehabilitation Sanatorium “Palangos Gintaras”, Ministry of Interior Recreation and Rehabilitation Centre “Pušynas”, Civil Servants Training Centre “Dainava”, Birštonas Sanatorium “Tulpė”, and Public Institution “Abromiškių Rehabilitation Hospital”.

It is equally important that quality medical rehabilitation services are provided to patients who can be treated as outpatients. In the first instance, they will no longer be administered by family doctors, but by physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors. This will ensure that patients get the services they need more quickly and reduce the administrative burden on family doctors. At present, the physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor only consults patients and makes recommendations for their rehabilitation, while the referral for these services has to be made by the attending doctor. Under the current system, the same doctor - a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation - will provide both advice and referral. The patient pathway will therefore be shorter.

As a reminder, a year ago, the options for prescribing medical rehabilitation were expanded, removing the restriction on prescribing only one method of medical rehabilitation at a time, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, therapeutic massage or physiotherapy. Services are now provided in a comprehensive manner, based on the degree of impairment of physiological functions. Patients can receive up to 25 outpatient medical rehabilitation services at a time.

The introduction of outpatient medical rehabilitation services in all municipalities will ensure that all patients, whether in public or private health care facilities, will be able to receive the same high quality services closer to home. Increased funding and investment is planned to pay for them.

Press Service of the Ministry of Health  

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