The SARAH Network

The SARAH Network of Rehabilitation Hospitals is run by the Associação das Pioneiras Sociais (APS), an independent institution created under Brazilian Federal Law #8.246/91 on October 22, 1991.  Today the Network comprises nine centers located throughout Brazil and performs more than 19 million annual procedures.  One of our goals is to give Brazilian citizens back some of the investment they make through their taxes, by offering free, high quality, humanistic medical care to every segment of the population.

The Network’s activities are governed by strategic goals:

  • Provide citizens with quality medical care that is 100% free of charge;
  • Develop training and continuing education programs for students and professionals from public schools and institutions;
  • Exert an educational impact on society and help prevent the main pathologies seen at the Network;
  • Develop scientific research, technical standards, and evaluation of hospital technology and equipment.

The SARAH Network Centers

The SARAH Network has centers in the following cities: 

Brasília (DF): home to the Network’s first center and largest hospital, located downtown, which also serves as its headquarters; and the International Center for Neuroscience and Rehabilitation, situated on the shores of Lake Paranoa, is dedicated to scientific research, development of new technologies and international cooperation.

Salvador (BA): site of the SARAH/Salvador facilities, in addition to the Technology Center that creates and manufactures hospital equipment and instruments for use at the SARAH centers.

São Luís (MA): location of the SARAH/ São Luís hospital, as well as an open community center that integrates patients with the local communities.

Belo Horizonte (MG): home to the SARAH/Belo Horizonte center, the first Network hospital in southeastern Brazil.

Fortaleza (CE): location of SARAH/Fortaleza hospital, specializing in pediatric and adult rehabilitation in northeastern Brazil.

Rio de Janeiro (RJ): site of the SARAH International Center for Neurorehabilitation and Neuroscience, dedicated to cognitive rehabilitation, sports and contact with nature.

Macapá (AP) and Belém (PA): both cities have advanced SARAH facilities that treat the population of northern Brazil, specializing in pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation. 

Rehabilitation and Assistance 

At the SARAH Network, rehabilitation therapy is not restricted only to the hospital environment.  An effective approach often requires that each moment of a patient’s day revolve around stimulating their development.

Traditionally, the focus of rehabilitation programs has been on evaluating functional losses caused by trauma or disease.  At the SARAH Network, however, our emphasis in on maximizing the functions that remain.  The rehabilitation programs are designed based on the abilities the individual still has or those that can be recovered.  The aim is to help the patient achieve a functional goal, regardless of the manner in which it will be performed.  The rehabilitation team mainly concentrates on what the individual can still do, rather than on what is no longer possible.

Deeper knowledge of brain functions and development, as well as advancements in neuroimaging and computer science, not only broadened the spectrum of diagnostics and surgical procedures, but also lent great precision to identifying the location of lesions and the structures responsible for cognitive and motor functions, and emotions.  This knowledge is integrated into each individual’s rehabilitation program, in a simple, humanistic manner.

Neuropsychologists, physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, educators, nutritionists, speech pathologists, specialists work together with the parents, family members and other individuals involved in the patient’s daily life, with the joint goal of helping the patient return home as soon as possible, to once again family life, interact with friends and engage in community activities.

The family, friends and people who are important in the patient’s life will work in cooperation with the medical team, helping integrate the patients back into the community when they leave a SARAH center.

The approach of the SARAH Network therefore represents a departure from the traditional concept of rehabilitation, and embraces a vanguard approach: Ecological Rehabilitation.   Within the scope of this concept, the child is reintegrated with the family, the teenager with the group, the elderly with their special interests, and so on.


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