Content » Vol 53, Issue 2

Special report

Contribution of the scientific field of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine to improvements in health-related rehabilitation at all levels of the healthcare system: A discussion paper

Boya Nugraha, Christoph Gutenbrunner
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine , Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str.1, DE-30625 Hannover, Germany: E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2773


Rehabilitation is an important health strategy that should be implemented at all levels of the healthcare system and at all levels of care. Scientific evidence is vital to strengthen rehabilitation; therefore, research in the scientific field of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM) should be implemented and linked to all levels of the healthcare system. PRM research can be categorized into 5 areas: (i) biosciences in rehabilitation; (ii) biomedical rehabilitation sciences and engineering; (iii) clinical PRM sciences; (iv) integrative rehabilitation sciences; and (v) human function-ing sciences. At the level of the healthcare system, rehabilitation can be divided into micro-, meso- and macro-levels. This paper discusses the contribution of the five above research areas to health-related rehabilitation at the different levels of the healthcare system. The contribution of PRM research can have synergistic value and facilitate improvements and implementation of scientific evidence in rehabilitation at all levels of healthcare. From a broader perspective, improved understanding of the contribution of each area of the scientific field of PRM and the priorities for the healthcare system that are set by relevant stakeholders will contribute to the advancement and rapid attainment of overall goals.

Lay Abstract

Rehabilitation leads to better health, participation, and quality of life of persons with chronic disease or impairment. It should be part of health care at all levels. In order to implement rehabilitation services, it is important to create a scientific basis. Science in the field of rehabilitation includes studies on mechanisms of disease and healing process, the effects of the application of treatments on the body, the effectiveness of therapy as well as the implementation of rehabilitation projects, and the theoretical basis. The results of such work are helpful to implement and optimize rehabilitation in clinical work and in health policies. The goal is that every person who needs rehabilitation will have access to quality rehabilitation services.


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