In our second issue of rehabINK we are taking a closer look at rehabilitation across the life span. For this edition we hope to shine the spotlight on how the rehabilitative approach (from both research and clinical perspectives) depends heavily on the age-specific demands of a given population. As defined in the literature, there are four life stages: i) childhood, ii) adolescence, iii) adulthood, and iv) old age (1).
Within the discipline of rehabilitation science, there is a need for expertise to address age-specific health issues from infancy to end of life. The rehabilitative approach that should be applied within one life span group may be very different than the approach taken within another life span group. It is important to consider that one rehabilitative approach may not be effectively translated across the life span. Perhaps due to the distinct age-dependent approaches, healthcare professionals are often encouraged to specialize in one or multiple age groups.
In this issue, submissions from our authors highlight the diversity and breadth of knowledge that is required from professionals in our field to address age-specific concerns. Articles capture key aspects of the way that rehabilitation can be framed or implemented in children, young and middle-aged adults, as well as seniors. Submissions also reflect the breadth of the types of rehabilitation-focused research that is currently being conducted.
At this point, further defining what we mean by life span may be helpful for our readers. As such, life span describes the underlying biological, behavioural, and psychosocial processes’ that evolve and adapt in patterned ways in individuals’ lives (2). A related concept to this approach is the life course perspective. This perspective takes into consideration the “basic principles of human development across the life span… and the idea that health outcomes reflect developmental processes”(3). Taking various developmental processes as well the unique biological, behavioural and psychological process that are unique to each age group can be beneficial when establishing a rehabilitative program. As a clinician or researcher in a rehabilitative field, understanding these constructs can enhance the care that we are able to provide to a given individual, regardless of age.
At this time we invite you to read and explore our second issue of rehabINK. Let us know what you think. What intrigues you about the articles in this issue? How do the concepts and ideas presented here apply to your work? We’d love to hear from you!
PhD Student (The Rehabilitation Sciences Institute)
Editor-In-Chief, on behalf of the Editorial Team
For a downloadable PDF, click here.
- Barkan SE. Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, Comprehensive Edition. Washington: Flat World Knowledge, L.L.C.; 2005.
- Kuh D, Ben-Shlomo Y. A Life Course Approach to Chronic Disease Epidemiology. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1997.
- Blum R, Hughes ME. Life Course Prespectives on Health 2011. Available from: http://ocw.jhsph.edu/index.cfm/go/viewCourse/course/LifeCoursePerspectiveOnHealth/coursePage/index/.
- Frost D. Towards the establishment of wroker-centered framework to physically prepare firefighters: the evaluation of movement and the tranfers of training [PhD thesis]. The University of Waterloo; 2013.