A comparison and synthesis of rehabilitation definitions used by consumers (Google), major Stakeholders (survey) and researchers (Cochrane Systematic Reviews): a terminological analysis

Chiara Arienti, Michele Patrini, Alex Pollock, Stefano G. Lazzarini, Aydan Oral, Stefano Negrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The term "rehabilitation" is heterogeneously used in the health context. Different interpretations can lead to disagreements, misunderstandings and different interpretations of what rehabilitation is between who provides it, who receives it and who studies it. The aim of this study was to conduct a terminological analysis of the different rehabilitation definitions used by different audiences: consumers, rehabilitation stakeholders and researchers. METHODS: We performed a terminological analysis with comparison of three different collections of rehabilitation definitions in English language. We performed: systematic reviews of databases representing consumers and lay persons (Google) and researchers (Cochrane Systematic Reviews [CSRs]), and a survey of rehabilitation stakeholders (Cochrane Rehabilitation Advisory Board). To aggregate words that had the same underlying concepts, their roots were extracted, and their occurrences counted. The 30 most frequent roots of each search were included. The 3 obtained collections were compared and similarities calculated. An overall collection of the most important 30 roots was obtained weighting those obtained in each single collection. All analyses have been performed using Excel. RESULTS: One hundred and eighty-seven rehabilitation definitions were identified: 23 from CSRs, 36 from the survey and 128 from Google. The most frequent roots were "function*" (92%), followed by "proces*" (69‰), "health*" (59‰), "disab*" (53‰), and "person*" (50‰). The most common relevant roots related to rehabilitation concept were "proces*" (73‰) in Google, "function*" (109‰) in the survey and "disab*" (41‰) in CSRs. The noun "function" prevailed in Google and "functioning" in the survey. CONCLUSIONS: According to our findings, any definition of rehabilitation for research purposes should include the identified terms, focusing on the concept of process and considering the main elements of functioning (and function), disability, person, health, optimization and environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-689
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Volume56
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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