Patient FAQs

​​​​What is rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation refers to restoring skills and function after an illness or injury. At our facilities, the rehab team works with patients to maximize independence and realize potential. 

Who is on the rehabilitation team?

  • The rehabilitation medicine physician, known as a  physiatrist, specializes in medicine and rehabilitation.
  • A rehabilitation nurse provides daily care, education and coordination of treatment and training.
  • The physical therapist works to improve the patient's strength, flexibility, endurance, coordination and balance with activities, such as moving in bed, using a wheelchair and walking.
  • An occupational therapist provides training in self-care, upper body/hand function, endurance and independent living skills, such as eating, bathing, dressing, using a computer and any special devices needed to return to school or work.
  • The speech pathologist assists patients who have communication or language problems or speech impairment. Speech pathologists may work with patients to improve memory, reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
  • A rehabilitation counselor helps patients return to work, school or other career alternatives.
  • The psychologist assists patients and families in understanding the changes that may accompany disability or illness.
  •  A specialized psychologist, the neuropsychologist, identifies and assesses cognitive issues.

What physicians are available who specialize in my condition?

All rehabilitation physicians at UW Medicine facilities specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation. UW Medicine includes Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center and UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinics.

How do I make an appointment?

Please visit our clinic locations page for contact information and locations of outpatient clinics. 

What sort of referral, if any, do I need to be seen?

A referral is needed for EMG/SEP (electromyography/ somatosensory evoked potential) inpatient referrals, Botox injections, blocks and some of the specialty clinics.

A referral is not necessary for general rehabilitation clinics or our musculoskeletal or Sports Medicine clinics. If your health insurance requires a referral, you are responsible for obtaining a referral prior to your appointment.

What health insurances do the facilities accept?

We accept most commercial and government health insurance.

For more information about billing UW Medicine billing, please contact Patient Financial Services​. Please contact your plan to if you have questions about the need for a referral or insurance.

What takes place on a given day in the inpatient unit?

A day in one of our inpatient rehabilitation units would include any number of therapies developed in partnership with health-care team members. Patients meet with a care team at least weekly to assess progress and make any necessary changes to the care plan. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to ask questions at any time, including during rounds, a regularly scheduled review of patients by physiatrists.

What should I expect at my first outpatient visit?

Your first visit to the clinic will include a medical history and a physical evaluation. Your physician or care team members might request laboratory tests, X-rays or consultations with other specialists. Tests will be scheduled before you leave the clinic, but you may need to return to UW Medical Center or Harborview Medical Center at a later date.

Clinic staff will work with you to develop a care plan. If desired, your care will be coordinated with a primary care provider and may include local community resources. Our annual evaluation program is an option for all clients. Please ask a member of your care team about this program.

What should I bring to my first appointment?

Please bring:

  • Copies of pertinent medical records, including recent evaluations, tests, X-rays
  • Assistive devices you use and wish to have evaluated, such as braces, walkers or a wheelchair
  • A list of your medications
  • Name and address of your primary care provider

​When will I leave the inpatient rehabilitation unit?

Our inpatient rehabilitation care teams will provide you with information about discharge as soon as you arrive. The team will work with you to make sure all of your questions are answered, and that you have learned the skills needed upon your discharge. These skills are based on the care plan and goals you have developed with your care team and will differ from patient to patient.

What’s the most important thing to know when I leave?

As part of the discharge process, our inpatient rehabilitation care teams will review your ongoing daily needs. All patients receive a discharge plan, including what accommodations you might need, where support might be found and who can help you after discharge. Rehabilitation and recovery do not end when you leave our facilities. Your team is dedicated to making your transition to home as smooth and safe as possible. And we’re always here to answer your questions.