Physical rehabilitation: Regaining independence, improving quality of life

After a life-changing injury, physical rehabilitation is the key to a full and independent life.

At an ICRC rehabilitation center in Guanajato, Mexico, a volunteer from the Mexican Red Cross assists two beneficiaries.

Helping those wounded in armed conflict to recover functioning and live a full life.

Bringing essential assistance to the physically disabled in conflict situations.

Contributing to efforts to ensure inclusion for those with disabilities in all aspects of life.

Serving the wounded and the most vulnerable

Civilians who get caught up in an armed conflict can be left disabled or even lose a limb. And persons with acquired disability or illness find themselves extremely vulnerable in time of war. This can be devastating for them – physically, mentally and socially. Physical rehabilitation can be the key to regaining their independence, increasing their resilience and improving their quality of life. We at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), from the first day of injury or disability, accompany each person to regain optimal functioning in life. 

Outcomes-driven rehabilitation programme

Our rehabilitation programme was founded in 1979. Since then we have become a leader in the field, thanks to our depth of expertise, the technology we have developed to produce high-quality assistive and mobility devices at low cost, and our lasting commitment to the centres we support. Our process aims to restore and enhance not only the person’s ability to physically perform daily tasks, but their sense of independence as well.

Provision and development of recognized and certified prosthetics

The initial goal of our Physical Rehabilitation Programme was to provide disabled people with mobility devices, such as prostheses (artificial limbs), orthoses (supports for existing limbs that need help to function) and wheelchairs. Today this mission has expanded to the development of comprehensive rehabilitation and professional trainings to ensure the sustainability of services provision but manufacturing assistive technologies stays at the heart of our action. In partnership with Fondation Alfaset, we produce components for assistive technology under the brand name Rehab Impulse.

Read more about our technology and see our work in action.

Making physical rehabilitation services accessible

In our work, we aim to strengthen national physical rehabilitation services provision, by breaking down barriers and empowering everyone who needs them. By ensuring equitable access for all, we're building a future where physical well-being knows no limitations and no discrimination.

Improving quality of care

We work to improve the quality of physical rehabilitation through national rehabilitation professional training, specialist support, regular continuous education and creating and implementing treatment protocols.

Committed to continuum of care

We bridge the care gap by offering seamless early rehabilitation across all health care settings (hospital, pre-hospital) and integrating mental health support for a holistic recovery journey.

Helping people with disabilities reintegrate into society

We and our local partners organize initiatives that encourage social, educational and professional integration such as sport activities, vocational training and inclusive schooling, microfinance programmes and job opportunities to help disabled people engage with their communities and, ultimately, to foster more inclusive societies.

Strengthening systems

Strengthening the rehabilitation sector gives a multiple return on investment, as people become contributing members of society again. Our programme’s systems-strengthening approach aims to ensure that the physical rehabilitation sector is well placed within the health system and the disability ecosystem. We help to develop policies, services and proper resources (funding, quality workforce and supply chains) to promote services to continue functioning at an acceptable level or even to further develop once we have left.