All about rehabilitation

Rehabilitation Matters

About all rehabilitation

This site is unashamedly evangelical about rehabilitation, its importance to patients and their families, its never-ending fascination, and its intellectual, philosophical, ethical, and emotional challenges. It is a personal website, expressing a personal view of rehabilitation. The view is based on over 40 years of experience, research, writing and, most of all, thinking. It is, I hope, based on evidence; it is, I hope, not afraid to challenge orthodox beliefs where they need challenging; and it is, I hope, interesting.

What is new?
I work on the site regularly, adding new pages, reorganising it, editing existing pages and, of course, publishing blog posts about anything that interests me. The last six posts are shown at the bottom. To discover what is new since my last update on September 5th 2023
Click Here
What is here?
The site covers all rehabilitation: description of what it is, academic aspects such a training and standards, patient-related content, rehabilitation services in the UK, and blog posts covering anything I am interested in.
A brief overview
Who is it for?
Everyone! Anyone involved in providing rehabilitation - healthcare, Social Services, and any other professionals of any level from student to expert. Any person receiving rehabilitation and their families. People purchasing it, organising it etc. And especially anyone who is curious.
Click for more details on readership.
Who writes the content??
Most content is by me, Derick Wade, a doctor involved in clinical work, research, teaching and training, and giving advice to national and international organisations. Some content is provided by others.
More information about me here
Blog posts
There are over 60 blog posts.
Click Here for more information
You can contribute.
I welcome comments and feedback from anyone; you can use the contact button at the bottom of each page. You may also consider writing something. Click below to learn about what I welcome and how to progress.
Click Here to learn more
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Overview of Rehabilitation Matters

This site is for everyone curious about or interested in rehabilitation, from experts to people knowing nothing, from rehabilitation professionals through other healthcare workers to politicians, patients, and the public, from those who pay to those who provide, and especially it is for people who are curious about rehabilitation.

This site is interested in all types of healthcare rehabilitation regardless of age, setting, or condition. My interest is in neurology, but the content considers all conditions, including psychiatry, learning disability, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation,

So, as the strapline says, this site is all about rehabilitation and about all rehabilitation.

I do not know of other sites centred on rehabilitation. Academic journals such as Clinical Rehabilitation (which I edited) and Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation publish short articles about specific topics. Sites such as the British Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine or the Society for Research in Rehabilitation have a particular focus (medical aspects or research). Textbooks such as the Oxford Handbook of Rehabilitation Medicine rarely discuss the process of rehabilitation, mainly having chapters on speecific topics.

The content will inevitably reflect my philosophy and approach. I have recently written about this. I believe rehabilitation must be centred on the person, always consider longer-term social goals, and that rehabilitation professionals need to develop wisdom, which is the best way to respond to the many uncertainties and complexities associated with many of our patients. We must remain humane and remember that patients are people, just like us.

It is essential that everyone contemplates the philosophical, legal, and ethical challenges associated with rehabilitation. For example, what are the distinctions between disease, disability, sickness, and illness or, of equal importance, what is rehabilitation. Ethical issues arise daily, for example when considering people with prolonged disorders of consciousness or functional disorders. I will refer to a book I have just bought,  The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Medicine.

Who should read it and why?

Almost everyone asks, “What is rehabilitation?” This site should answer the question for anyone asking, from relatives of family members offered rehabilitation through politicians and managers to healthcare professionals. Strange though it may seem, I think this might benefit rehabilitation professionals because many have a limited understanding of rehabilitation compared to their professional expertise.

Professionals involved in rehabilitation should find much of interest. I challenge common assumptions, explain complex concepts, and offer facts and arguments they may use when promoting rehabilitation. I am particularly interested in education and training; a substantial proportion of the content considers how people can gain expertise and show they are experts. I have drawn upon my involvement in writing the medical rehabilitation curriculum. This should interest students and anyone training in rehabilitation.

Healthcare professionals, including all managers, should read to gain insight into rehabilitation. It is needed throughout the healthcare system, and well over half of all patients would benefit from it. The site has information on the role of nursing homes in rehabilitation. Social Service professionals will also find much of interest, as social care is indistinguishable from rehabilitation.

Patients and their family and friends will, I hope, find this site gives them helpful information. I hope most of it can be understood and that I avoid jargon. Some pages are written primarily for patients, and patients (one so far) have contributed material – more is welcome; use the contact button at the bottom.

Who writes and curates the site?

The content is mainly written by me, Derick Wade. I also welcome contributions from other people, which I will edit with the author’s agreement to ensure its readability. I have been a doctor interested in rehabilitation since 1980, when I started researching stroke rehabilitation at the Frenchay Stroke Unit, Bristol, UK. I have experience in almost all aspects of rehabilitation: clinical work with patients, managing services, advising on local and national policies, research, education and training, and occasional recipient of rehabilitation; I edited a journal on rehabilitation, Clinical Rehabilitation, from 1994 – 2021. I currently work at a specialist care home in Gloucester, give second opinions on patients around the UK, teach, research, and write.

My research interests and output can be seen on Google Scholar. I write on three Twitter accounts: @derickwaderehab, @rehabil31319128 (rehabilitation matters account), and @ClinicalRehab (I tweet on behalf of Clinical Rehabilitation).

Although I write most content, I often draw on work published by others, questions asked of me, or other events of work that spark my interest. For example, a blog post on “Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary?” was my response to an email, and another on “A model of patient-centred rehabilitation” was my interpretation of an article I read.

There is no commercial interest. For more information see About and Purpose pages.

What is new or changed? September 20th to October 2nd 2023.

I have, at last, published a blog post devoted to the biomedical model of illness, strengths and weaknesses, showing that it has been a powerful force for good, driving research for decades, but that it is now a significant factor impeding the acceptance of the biopsychosocial model of illness in healthcare. I hope I have been fair to it.

I have also added another item to the syllabus: the competency in managing chronic pain, arguing that it should be central to all rehabilitation and that we should have more expertise than most because we are most familiar with analysing and managing complex, multifactorial problems. Only a tiny proportion of patients will need or be able to access the specific invasive treatment techniques used by anaesthetists. I have significantly revised my post on the NICE guideline on chronic pain; I need to update it again to add a relevant critical review by Christopher Eccleston and colleagues.

Blog posts

There are (September 18th, 2023) 68 published posts covering various topics. The page devoted to blog posts gives the categories used, and there is a separate page for each category where you can see all posts in a category. The most recent six posts are given at the bottom of this page. I have recently (September 17th) culled 20 old, low-quality posts.

Your input is welcome.

My goal is to improve rehabilitation in two ways. First, I wish to increase the knowledge and understanding of rehabilitation among healthcare professionals and the general public. Second, within the UK, I would like to see a national multi-professional rehabilitation society like the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine that would advocate for rehabilitation independently of any profession and develop multi-professional rehabilitation standards and, possibly, qualifications.

You may help in several ways.

Patient experience can educate professionals, other patients, and the public. I want a variety of patient reports to illustrate how we can do better, either by reporting on our successes or our failure. Usually, one learns more from failures, provided they are analysed constructively. We have one report at present.

I am also interested in professionals’ reports of their experience, particularly what they consider their unique contribution to the team’s expertise. I have a category of posts, “What do we add”. So far, I only have my report on what doctors add and a report from a speech and language therapist. More would be welcome.

You may also:

  1. Feedback on any page or post, using the contact button at the foot of each page (or here now),
  2. Contact me directly or use the contact button at the foot of each page. You could suggest content I could write about or you wish to report. You can raise any issue related to Rehabilitation Matters.

Six latest blog posts

The medical model

The biopsychosocial model of illness was born in 1977, with a reasonably well-documented gestation. Its growth and development are easily tracked, showing changes and improvements, and anyone can quickly discover the model. In contrast, the medical model, better termed the biomedical model, has been gestating and growing since about 1500, when the Scientific Revolution started.

Read More »

Speech and language therapist – 1

What is the unique contribution of a speech and language therapist to the rehabilitation team’s collective expertise? I persuaded a brave colleague to write this post. Harriet Peel was the speech and language therapist in the rehabilitation team at the Dean Neurological Centre, a care home where I work. The content after the Table of

Read More »

Doctors in rehabilitation – 1

“But what do doctors do in rehabilitation? “I have been asked this question since I became interested in rehabilitation. Many healthcare professionals, including managers, worryingly state, “We don’t need doctors in our rehabilitation service.” When asked to justify this, the usual reply is, “Well, we can always ask their GP or consultant if we need

Read More »

Maslow’s needs

What type of long-term rehabilitation goals should we set with our patients in rehabilitation? I have previously argued that they should be made at the level of social participation, usually several years in the future. These rehabilitation aims are typically challenging to specify for a person, and often, they seem similar to the goals of

Read More »

A patient’s rehabilitation curriculum?

A patient’s father recently asked me, “What is the usual rehabilitation curriculum for someone with problems like my son’s?”. Until then, I had only considered a rehabilitation curriculum in the context of educating and training healthcare professionals about rehabilitation. I had never thought of a patient’s rehabilitation curriculum. Although I have often said rehabilitation is

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Rehabilitation Networks – 2

The Community Rehabilitation Alliance recently published some Best Practice Standards for rehabilitation aimed at the newly founded NHS Integrated Care Boards that manage the Integrated Care System. It recommended the formation of a rehabilitation network, and the standards applied to the network were set out and summarised in tables. I have abstracted them into a

Read More »
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