UBC Theses and Dissertations
Rehabilitation of paraplegic patients : the origins and development of work at the Western Rehabilitation Clinic and the role of the social worker Holt, Kenneth Arthur
It is commonly said that rehabilitation is not the prerogative of any one group or person. This thesis surveys the method by which the achievements of the rehabilitation programme developed by the Department of Veterans' Affairs were made available to those civilians who suffer paraplegia or quadriplegia. It traces the changes in the existing programme as it altered from one which was solely medical in nature, to one which provides services for physical, social and vocational effects of the person's illness. The recognition of the non-physical aspects of illness also helps to emphasize that a handicapped person is a human being and, as such, is a member of society. These non-physical aspects are not only his own reaction to his physical conditions, but also the reactions of the society in which he lives. The problem in developing this rehabilitation programme has been getting the support and close co-operation of interested people and agencies in the community How the problem has been met so far is examined by a survey of the role of the agencies concerned in this particular programme. The changing procedures are illustrated by means of case records of patients who were clients of the Social Service Department of the Vancouver General Hospital, The records used are those which best illustrate the degree to which the programme was an integrated rehabilitative process. The transition from a medical treatment programme to a total rehabilitation programme has not yet been completed; a medical, rather than a rehabilitative, diagnosis is still used to establish eligibility for training at the Rehabilitation Centre, Little use has been made of casework services, because the social worker-placement officer is doing work which should be done by the General Hospital and the National Employment Service. The study concludes by suggesting that the next steps required are; to have vocational placement done solely by the Special Placement Section of the National Employment Service; to have the General Hospital Social Service Department provide casework service to the patients in the hospital; to interpret to the personnel involved, the role of each person and agency in the programme, and to further co-ordinate the activities of the various agencies using the facilities at the Rehabilitation Centre by discussing common problems of rehabilitation and the needs of patients with the members of their auxiliaries.
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