Habilitation and rehabilitation

Habilitation and rehabilitation services are intended to help patients and users develop and maintain their life and coping skills. The goal is to enable patients to live as independent a life as possible based on their own circumstances and wishes.

The services are targeted and planned

The services that a patient or user needs, from both the specialist health service and the municipality, are required to work together. The habilitation and rehabilitation service must be coordinated, multidisciplinary and planned, and the participation and involvement of the patient and user is important.

Services from both municipalities and the specialist health service

​Both the municipalities and the specialist health service provide services within the area of habilitation and rehabilitation. The municipalities have overall responsibility for follow-up, and must refer a patient to the specialist health service when they require services which are more specialised than the municipality is able to offer.

Clarification of responsibilities and tasks between the municipalities and the specialist health service (helsedirektoratet.no) (in Norwegian)

Avklaring av ansvar og oppgaver mellom kommunene og spesialisthelsetjenesten (helsedirektoratet.no) (in Norwegian)

Patients in need of long-term and coordinated services will be offered an individual plan and coordinator. If services from both the municipality and the specialist health service are involved, the municipality will be responsible for service provision. The specialist health service must participate in the planning process. The coordinating unit for habilitation and rehabilitation (helsedirektoratet.no) (in Norwegian) is the point of contact for enquiries about this and has overall responsibility.

Services offered by the municipalities and the specialist health service

The provision of habilitation and rehabilitation is organised differently within the specialist health service and the municipalities.

You can find out more about the services available at helsedirektoratet.no:

Coordinating unit for habilitation and rehabilitation

​Municipalities are required to have a coordinating unit (helsedirektoratet.no) (in Norwegian) which is responsible for ensuring that the services provided to individuals are viewed in context. The coordinating unit is also responsible for helping service providers (treatment providers) work together and ensure that service recipients (patients) are involved in the planning and organisation of the habilitation and rehabilitation services that they receive.

Relationship between habilitation and rehabilitation

​The differences between habilitation and rehabilitation (helsedirektoratet.no) (in Norwegian) are primarily linked to the target groups concerned. Users and patients requiring habilitation services are children, adolescents and adults with congenital or early acquired disabilities. Rehabilitation is normally aimed at conditions which develop later in life. Habilitation is about learning new skills, while rehabilitation is about regaining lost skills.

The general principles are common to both habilitation and rehabilitation (helsedirektoratet.no) (in Norwegian). Factors which apply to habilitation in particular are described in the guide in the chapter on the specialist health service and the chapter on the municipal health service.

Common to both target groups is the need for a wide range of professional approaches, including medical, physical, sensory, cognitive, social and psychosocial. The need for repetitive processes throughout all or much of a person’s life can apply to both target groups, but is particularly prominent within habilitation.