Rehabilitation specialists have a unique opportunity to serve as the drivers of change in promoting the use of exercise facilities by people with newly acquired disabilities. Identifying programs that are effective and sustainable for extending recovery in a community-based exercise facility after rehabilitation may reduce the risk of secondary health complications and optimize health and function. This article describes an approach for closing the gap between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and the use of community-based exercise facilities by people with disabilities. Extending recovery from rehabilitation to community-based exercise requires a transitional setting (eg, hospital-based fitness facilities and specialized fitness centers and programs for people with disabilities) that provides greater support and supervision in teaching individuals with disabilities (and, when necessary, their caregivers) how to exercise safely and effectively and access the programs, equipment, and services available in these facilities. With the shortened amount of rehabilitation time that many patients are given after acquiring a disability or being treated for a new health condition, community-based exercise facilities and the fitness professionals who are employed in them must become part of the rehabilitation continuum and obtain additional training to better serve the needs of people with newly acquired disabilities who are leaving rehabilitation.
Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.