The Importance of Early Rehabilitation Following Serious Injury



Access to specialist rehabilitation, as early as possible, following life changing injuries is widely recognised as being pivotal to the recovery process and long-term prognosis of individuals affected. In this short article, Jules Leahy, Director of STEPS Rehabilitation, explores the benefits of early rehabilitation; STEPS’ unique approach and real-life examples of how they have helped seriously injured clients become more independent.

Early inter-disciplinary rehabilitation brings with it a better recovery and improves outcomes for people with an acquired brain injury, spinal injury, or amputation. The clients that are referred to us undergo a detailed pre-admission assessment that carefully considers the rehabilitation needs of an individual; which can be complex and wide ranging. We’re in the unique position of being home to a fantastic team of medical specialists and therapists who work collaboratively to support clients.

What are the benefits of early rehabilitation?

For those suffering from an ABI, early rehabilitation improves cognitive functioning and functioning in movements, sensation, language, and physical abilities. NHS England recognises that there is “strong evidence” that rehabilitation in specialist settings for people with traumatic brain injury is effective and provides value for money, and that “early transfer to specialist centres and more intense rehabilitation programmes” are cost-effective.

For those suffering from a spinal injury, early rehabilitation is critical to prevent secondary complications such as spasticity, joint contractures, loss of muscle strength and preservation of bone density and digestive function.

One of the many things that set STEPS apart from other rehabilitation facilities is the ability to treat clients with multiple trauma injuries. One of our unique services is our amputee and orthotic specialist rehabilitation programme, operating in partnership with the Blatchford Group. Clients benefit from the swift provision of their prosthetic or orthotic device whilst receiving daily therapy sessions to maximise their mobility, independence and wellbeing.

Common to all types of injuries is access to the correct psychological support. Not only does this help the client to fully engage in their rehabilitation programme, it also helps to prevent or minimise other issues, such as reduced social participation, depression and anxiety.

With intensive and effective early rehabilitation, the need for home care support can be reduced, or eliminated entirely enabling independence; thereby reducing long-term care costs.

Our aim is to get clients home and for them to be in the best position possible. Clients can access specialist interdisciplinary team assessments which enable decisions about long-term equipment needs to be facilitated. Links with external companies to trial specialist equipment prior to purchase is something that we routinely facilitate.

STEPS’ unique environment

Something we are often told by our clients is that being a residential client enables them to get to know others at our facility. Clients share their rehabilitation journey with fellow residents with milestones and progress is widely celebrated throughout the STEPS community, comprising of families, staff and visitors. Our website showcases many of the success stories and brings into focus what can be achieved through early rehabilitation.

Client experiences

Ben – Amputee client. First came to STEPS in April 2019 for residential rehabilitation.

“I love being at STEPS and seeing how everyone else is doing too, it’s great to see other people progressing in their rehabilitation journeys. I will definitely be back to visit, and want to return with my mum and son to thank the team for not only changing my life, but also the life of my entire family.”

During his time at STEPS, Ben had twice daily physiotherapy, technical instruction, soft tissue work, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and psychological support. Psychological support prior to STEPS had been limited. After his residential time at STEPS, Ben was able to reduce his pain medication, had a more positive mind-set to his recovery, lost weight due to the amount of exercise and improved nutrition and received a much better prosthetic limb enabling more freedom to pursue his pre injury activities.

Ed – Spinal cord injury. Resident at STEPS for 8 months

Ed suffered a spinal cord injury when he was knocked from his bicycle whilst on his way to work as a junior Doctor. He was discharged from Sheffield Spinal Injuries Unit into our care. When he arrived he had minimal movement in his shoulder and was unable to use his hands and wholly reliant on others to do everything for him. Following a period of intensive, residential rehabilitation he regained movement in his arms and hands, enabling him to control a wheelchair, use his phone, computer and even participate in wheelchair sport. This improvement in movement meant he was able to return home with a greater degree of independence. 

“When I first arrived I wasn’t in a good place. I didn’t like anyone or anything. I had been in hospital for 8 months. I had no choice on my care or recreation activities. I would just get up and sit in my chair all day, I did nothing. Coming to STEPS was a bit stressful to begin with, as I had to direct my care and choose what to do and actually do things! I had to get to know lots of new people and have lots of therapy! There is an enormous psychological component to neuro rehabilitation and all these things are so important. My whole life had changed, I had no family and friends nearby, and I was trying to work out how to get my life back together! If I had gone straight home from hospital it would have been terrifying and if I had gone to a nursing home that would have been equally terrible.

I have learnt to be more independent.”

If you would like to learn more about STEPS Rehabilitation, please visit

How can Affiniti Finance help?

Many personal injury or clinical negligence incidents leave an individual with continuing physical, mental and financial problems. Our Life and Rehabilitation loan offers financial reassurance to client’s when they need it most, allowing them to focus on their health and recovery before their legal claim has settled.  Typically, clients use these loans for treatment or support that is not immediately available from the NHS. The loan can cover the cost of surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, and any specialist equipment needed to improve quality of life.

The loan can also provide finance to assist with personal living expenses, be that day to day expenses or larger items such as adaptations to living accommodation.

For more information, visit or contact one of the team at

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