As I sat down to write this letter, I tried to synthesize what tied the articles in this issue together. Was there an underlying theme, tone, or intention that I could elaborate on? Did the articles collectively say something about rehabilitation science research that I could further evoke?
In this pursuit, I realized I was seeking consistency, corroboration, and pattern. I was soon reminded of how futile my attempts were, as I remembered the following quote,
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”- Pema Chodron
This, “being thrown out of the nest” refers to the destabilizing cycle of life, in which we learn, unlearn and relearn. According to many, it is the essence of being alive.
So why is it that we are so often drawn to consistency, corroboration, and patterns? Well, these are stabilizing qualities that we so often want to attract in our lives. We want to be certain that the COVID-19 pandemic will end, the confidence that the vaccines will work, and a return to predictability and our normal life patterns.
Stop right now and think for a moment. What are you doing? Are you trying to predict where this letter will take you, how this sentence will end, or whether it will be worth your time? Will you read the titles of the articles in this issue, trying to ascertain, with confidence, which one will be the most interesting?
In this issue, we do not build upon a certain theme or tone, nor do we aim to evoke a particular feeling or call to action within our reader. The narrative that binds this issue together is one of divergence. Each article will explore a different topic as it relates to rehabilitation science. You will read about how we can collectively dismantle prevailing narratives of independence in rehabilitation, reframe physical activity guidelines, promote interdisciplinary approaches to geriatric rehabilitation, and much more.
It is our hope that with this divergence, we will allow you to embrace the destabilizing cycle of learning, and continually throw you out of your nest.
Welcome to Issue 11 of rehabINK – the summer edition!
To change the pace of endless zoom calls, we encourage you to dive into the refreshing commentaries and topical knowledge summaries of our latest issue. In sharing their unique perspectives of rehabilitation, the authors of Issue 11 provide some thought-provoking, enlightening and future-thinking discussion for all our research-oriented, clinically-engaged, and curious readers to explore.
These are exciting times! Not only within the current issue, but with the rollout of advanced vaccination programs in Canada and around the world, we look forward to a hopeful and more equitable new chapter in global health. We are also looking forward to enjoying the competition and realization of athletic talent and dedication at the delayed summer Olympics in July, followed by the Paralympics at the end of August.
Acknowledging our sustained challenges, with the ongoing stress and fatigue that this pandemic has brought with it, we would like to suggest some avenues to explore, stimulate, and to unwind this summer: why not try reading a book in a genre that is new or different for you, seek out new trails to hike, a new flower along the way, or plant a vegetable that you can enjoy by the end of the summer! Perhaps you will reconnect with an old friend on a socially distanced walk, enjoy the park life, or discover new foods (that you haven’t had to prepare yourself). Or maybe you’ll finally declutter at home, find some time for animal therapy, or try a new sport. Whatever excites or entices you, we hope that you discover something new this summer, and that you enjoy what you find in our new issue!
To give you a taste of what lies herein, we’ve recapped the eight new articles that build upon and advance our understanding of rehabilitation, its complementary disciplines, and individual patient experiences. As with our previous issue that explored “Social Issues in Rehabilitation: Diversity, Care, and Engagement”, these themes still shine through prominently in Issue 11. Rehabilitation access and equity, which includes the careful consideration of patients’ individual and shared experiences that determine health and quality of care, still need to be addressed.
01 – Our journey begins with a commentary by Kristina Kokorelias, who brings us along the bumpy road from acute care settings to rehabilitation provision. This is a pathway that can often see patients fall through its cracks and which has only become more precarious in the tracks of the current pandemic. “Navigating Rehabilitation’s Role in Patient Navigation” highlights the decisive role of rehabilitation experts in advancing patient navigation. As a patient-centered care strategy, barriers to care can be reduced, and individualised, timely and equitable access to care and coordination of rehabilitation services can be better secured between care settings.
02 – In “Independence to Interdependence: Changing the Narrative of Rehabilitation”, Bernice Lau discusses the importance of reframing the minds of rehabilitation specialists, to avoid making independence the goal of rehabilitation. In this article, she highlights how we are all in need of help. Whether it’s to fix our plumbing or use a cellphone, we all requires some interdependence, and by simply switching to this focus we could improve outcomes in our patients.
03 – With most of us experiencing an almost full transition to the online world, the shared insights of bloggers not only provide a sense of socio-emotional support and reduced isolation, but may even offer a platform to patients and healthcare providers to develop connections, translate knowledge, tackle misinformation, and strengthen ties within rehabilitation communities. Learn more about the positive influences of blogging in rehabilitation, with Morenike Ajidagba’s “Blogging as a communication tool to engage patients through the rehabilitative process”.
04 – We all know that exercise and physical activity are important. Now, Stephanie Saunders and Cassandra D’Amor give us a deep dive into the most recently published advice, in their article titled: “24-hour Canadian Movement Guidelines and the benefits of light physical activity for older adults”. Learn more about the benefits of light physical activity in this very helpful article.
05 – What are the social determinants that shape the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in Latin America? Lisbeth Pino’s uniquely insightful case vignette presents the complexities of living with HIV and AIDS, informed by her missionary work with the Indigenous communities of Ecuador. “HIV/AIDS from the Perspective of Indigenous Peoples in Latin America: A Compassionate Approach to Addressing Health and Well-Being” gives us the opportunity to gain a contextualised understanding of the shared challenges, as well as protective factors, that can influence healthcare provision in marginalised communities.
06 – In “Towards Inclusive Rehabilitation Research for People Labelled with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities”, authors Yani Hamdani, Nicole Bobbette and Irfan Jawa present their work in developing a training course for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the aim of supporting their research involvement. Read about their experiences in running the course, their lessons learned, and how we can foster an inclusive environment for research collaboration with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
07 – Pelvic health therapy can be a challenging discipline, in which the unreserved discussion of often sensitive topics is required. Shirin Modarresi and Sarah Janssen highlight the importance of building rapport between the patient and clinician in their article entitled “Building effective therapeutic relationships in pelvic floor rehab: a commentary”. The authors provide key components for building an effective therapeutic alliance with this patient population.
08 – And, finally, Ilakkiah Chandran and Anuijan Chandran challenge us to think about what optimal geriatric rehabilitation looks like. In “Geriatric Rehabilitation: All Hands On Deck”, the authors advocate for the integration of mental health and cognitive rehabilitation in the physical rehabilitation of older adults, with increased holistic and interdisciplinary focus. This person-centred interdisciplinary approach sees physical and occupational therapists working together to collaboratively pave the way for better geriatric rehabilitation and improved quality of life for a readily growing patient population.
With these eight articles, we invite you to explore the range of social, cultural and cross-disciplinary issues facing rehabilitation sciences and healthcare provision today. We are immensely grateful for all the authors, illustrators, and editors who have brought this issue to life, and we hope that their stories will continue to inspire critical conversations, as well as future discussions and ideas.
We encourage you to share your thoughts with us and keep these critical conversation going by submitting a Letter to the Editor – a new and exciting initiative at rehabINK, which is set to debut in our next issue. We look forward to hearing from you, and in the meantime…
To refer to this article, it can be cited as:
Posa S, Ziebart C, Höbler F. Letter from the editors. rehabINK. 2021;11. Available from: https://rehabinkmag.com