Rehabilitation - a new approach. Part two: the underlying theories

Clin Rehabil. 2015 Dec;29(12):1145-54. doi: 10.1177/0269215515601175.


This editorial considers how healthcare systems should approach the problems associated with ongoing, persistent symptoms and limitations on a person's ability to undertake activities. It starts from the premise, established in the first editorial, that the current reliance on the biomedical model of health and illness is no longer 'fit for purpose', and is one major cause of current difficulties within the health service. Among other problems, it may lead to the marginalisation of rehabilitation services, especially when resources are limited. This editorial describes and then highlights the implications of the holistic, biopsychosocial model of illness. It also outlines the rehabilitation process, demonstrating its similarity to the process used by medical services, with the primary difference being the centre of attention: disease for medical service, disability for rehabilitation services. The model of rehabilitation emphasises: the importance of being patient-centred and goal-directed in rehabilitation; the need for liaison by the team and learning by the patient; and that the patient needs to be encouraged and enabled to practice wanted activities.

Keywords: Biopsychosocial model; goal setting; rehabilitation process.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation
  • Humans
  • Rehabilitation / trends*