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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Criteria for successful rehabilitation : a review of selected literature directed to diagnostic and prognostic casework services for the physically handicapped. Tomalty, Shirley Florence


Much has been written on rehabilitation but as yet there is little standardization of definition whether in general literature or clinical practice. The present study examines a representative group of writings to discover how far there is agreement as to the criteria for successful rehabilitation. The most important references include writings of Howard Rusk and his collaborators in the United States, and the findings of T.M. Ling and C.J.S. O'Malley and collaborators in Great Britain. Specific reference is also made to relevant theses completed at the School of Social Work, University of British Columbia. To preserve a sharp focus, the study is confined to cases of physical handicap, a medical setting, and the particular role of the social worker, in the rehabilitation team and in relation to the client. The background of other varied concepts of "rehabilitation" is considered at the outset. The factors on which there is agreement can be best reviewed by classifying them in two main areas, which may be broadly termed: (A) the inner resources, and (B) the external resources of the person concerned. Inner resources can be further analyzed in terms of: (a) initial assessment, (b) variables with rehabilitation potential, and (c) dynamic characteristics with rehabilitation potential. The external resources are analyzed as: (a) the family strength, (b) financial standing as a rehabilitation resource, (c) the criterion of leisure-time activities, (d) the rehabilitation centre and team as a resource, and (e) the community resources. The findings are evaluated particularly as they serve as diagnostic and prognostic aids for the caseworker. They are tested tentatively by application to a small number of cases drawn from the experience of Shaughnessy Hospital, Vancouver, of the Department of Veterans Affairs. These particularly show the importance of balance and interaction between "inner" and "external resources", and some implications may be drawn for other areas of rehabilitation. No attempt is made to assess the relative weights of the individual criteria, which is one of the indicated directions for future research.

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