Minimum technical standards and recommendations for rehabilitation

Publication Date 
December 2016
54 p.

This document is the result of collaboration between a working group of rehabilitation experts convened by WHO and external consultations. It is thus based on collective experience in rehabilitation during responses to recent large-scale emergencies and also on published data. In time, the minimum standards for rehabilitation in emergencies will be part of a broader series of publications based on the Classification and minimum standards for foreign medical teams in sudden onset disaster.


The purpose of this document is to extend these standards for physical rehabilitation and provide guidance to emergency medical teams (EMTs, formerly known as “foreign medical teams”) on building or strengthening their capacity for and work in rehabilitation within defined coordination mechanisms.The standards and recommendations given in this document will ensure that EMTs, both national and international, will better prevent patient complications and ensuing impairment and ensure a continuum of care beyond their departure from the affected area. This document gives the minimum standards for EMTs in regard to the workforce, the field hospital environment, rehabilitation equipment and consumables and information management. Notably, the standards call for:


• at least one rehabilitation professional per 20 beds at the time of initial deployment, with further recruitment depending on case-load and local rehabilitation capacity;

• allocation of a purpose-specific rehabilitation space of at least 12 m2 for all type 3 EMTs; and

• deployment of EMTs with at least the essential rehabilitation equipment and consumables according to type.


EMTs are encouraged to exceed the minimum standards outlined in this document; supplementary recommendations are included. All teams on the Global Classification List of quality assured teams are required to use the minimum technical standards for rehabilitation, and demonstration of adherence to the standards will be necessary for verification. Support in achieving the minimum standards will be available through EMT mentoring, if necessary

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