Happy National Rehabilitation Awareness Week! From the inception of occupational therapy to rehabilitation job prospects, we bring you nine things you might not know about rehabilitation:

  1. Occupational therapy began in 1917. Therapists were recruited by the Surgeon General and worked as “reconstruction aides” during World War I. These reconstruction aides attended to roughly 150,000 wounded infantry men. The treatments gained recognition, and the American Occupational Therapy Association was formed.
  2. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physical therapists is expected to increase 39% between 2010 and 2020, a rate that is “much faster than average.” Many baby boomers are remaining active, more so than past generations, and rely on PT services to stay involved in their activities.
  3. Older patients with chronic heart failure benefit as least as much from a multi-week cardiac/exercise rehabilitation program as younger patients, according to a recent study of 243 patients at a rehabilitation center in Belgium.
  4. “Few jobs are so rewarding as physical therapy,” says CNNMoney, which consistently ranks physical therapy as one of the best jobs in America. Though the job can be emotionally and physically straining, “the workday is filled with small triumphs.”
  5. The American Stroke Association and American Heart Association recently declared that all stroke patients should have access to rehabilitation. Most stroke patients require some degree of rehabilitation. The sooner one begins stroke rehabilitation, the better the chance of regaining lost abilities.
  6. Speech, language and hearing disorders account for 20.1% of children in Special Education programs in the U.S., according to the Department of Education. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, more than a million children are treated each year for communication impairments.
  7. Late talking children who are otherwise developing normally do not always “catch up” to their peers. If in doubt, parents should seek advice and a prognosis from a speech language pathologist sooner rather than later. Speech-language pathologists may specialize, but they are trained to treat all ages.
  8. Physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists can choose from a wide variety of work settings. They may work with different patient populations in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient facilities and schools, to name a few.
  9. Physical therapy can alleviate the fear of falling. Patients may be more willing to participate in group activities like church if they feel more confident about navigating pews, for example.


  1. Patrick King: Exactly how occupational therapy started. Yahoo. Accessed on September 12, 2013 from http://voices.yahoo.com/exactly-occupational-therapy-started-10201709.html
  2. Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed on September 12, 2013 from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Physical-therapists.htm.
  3. Mitchel L. Zoler: Cardiac rehabilitation benefits elderly heart failure patients. Internal Medicine News. Accessed on September 12, 2013 from http://www.internalmedicinenews.com/cme/click-for-credit-articles/single-article/cardiac-rehabilitation-benefits-elderly-heart-failure-patients/44c62e5b8d0614f169c1a04d8422cb66.html.
  4. Best Jobs in America. CNNMoney. Accessed on September 13, 2013 from http://money.cnn.com/pf/best-jobs/2012/snapshots/8.html.
  5. Tim Mullaney: All stroke patients should have access to rehabilitation. McKnight’s Long Term Care News. Accessed on September 12, 2013 from http://www.mcknights.com/all-stroke-patients-should-have-access-to-rehabilitation-skilled-nursing-care-american-heart-association/article/309651/.
  6. Department of Education. "Twenty-fourth Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act". 2001. Washington D.C.. Table 11-5, p. 11-22.
  7. Lauren Lowry: Fact or Fiction? The Top 10 Assumptions about Early Speech and Language Development. The Hanen Centre. Accessed on September 12, 2013 from http://www.hanen.org/helpful-info/articles/fact-or-fiction--the-top-10-assumptions-about-earl.aspx.
  8. Katharine Gammon: Physical therapists may ease fear of falling in the elderly. Medscape. Accessed on September 12, 2013 from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/781175.
By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services