Treatment taxonomy for rehabilitation: past, present, and prospects

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Jan;95(1 Suppl):S6-16. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2013.03.032.


The idea of constructing a taxonomy of rehabilitation interventions has been around for quite some time, but other than small and mostly ad hoc efforts, not much progress has been made, in spite of articulate pleas by some well-respected clinician scholars. In this article, treatment taxonomies used in health care, and in rehabilitation specifically, are selectively reviewed, with a focus on the need to base a rehabilitation treatment taxonomy (RTT) on the "active ingredients" of treatments and their link to patient/client deficits/problems that are targeted in therapy. This is followed by a description of what we see as a fruitful approach to the development of an RTT that crosses disciplines, settings, and patient diagnoses, and a discussion of the potential uses in and benefits of a well-developed RTT for clinical service, research, education, and service administration.

Keywords: ADL; CPT; Classification; Current Procedural Terminology; ICF; Information storage and retrieval; International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health; NIC; Nursing Interventions Classification; OT; PBE; PT; RTT; Rehabilitation; SCI; TBI; Terminology as topic; Therapeutics; activities of daily living; occupational therapy; physical therapy; practice-based evidence; rehabilitation treatment taxonomy; spinal cord injury; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health
  • Patient Care Planning / organization & administration*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / classification*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / organization & administration*