Toward an optimal healing environment in pediatric rehabilitation

J Altern Complement Med. 2004:10 Suppl 1:S179-92. doi: 10.1089/1075553042245999.


Although recent scientific advances have enabled us to minimize disability and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families, cure is still not possible for many rehabilitation patients. This inability to cure renders the field of rehabilitation medicine particularly well-suited to the philosophy of healing. In contrast to curing, which is aimed at removing or reversing a disease process, both rehabilitation and healing are meant to enhance all aspects of well-being, restore integrity to the person, and facilitate the creation of meaning. Pediatric rehabilitation represents the interface of rehabilitation medicine and pediatrics, and is associated with unique characteristics that provide a natural context for exploring the optimal healing environment. This paper describes those characteristics and argues for the systematic integration and evaluation of healing interventions among children with developmental disabilities and their caregivers (parents, health care practitioners, and teachers). The ultimate aim of these interventions would be to improve all levels of the children's functioning in their homes, schools, and community environments by reducing impairment and increasing activity and participation. The paper concludes with a discussion of research priorities and the challenges imposed by different research strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Complementary Therapies / standards*
  • Developmental Disabilities / rehabilitation*
  • Disabled Children / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / rehabilitation*
  • Life Style
  • Parents / education
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Patient-Centered Care / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care / methods
  • United States