Rehabilitation: there’s never been a more important time

Dr Shane O’Hanlon is a Consultant Geriatrician at St Vincent’s University Hospital and Associate Clinical Professor at University College Dublin. He tweets @drohanlon. Marie Smith is Nursing Quality Manager at the Royal Hospital Dublin and tweets @Maruska5678.

In the collaborative spirit of multidisciplinary rehabilitation, we crowdsourced the design of a new textbook!

Two years ago, we were invited to take a fresh look at a rehabilitation textbook with a view to bringing it to a wider audience.  The text, A comprehensive guide to geriatric rehabilitation, was a well-respected companion for physiotherapists, in its third edition.

In a BGS blog, we asked for ideas as to what should be covered and were particularly interested to hear how we could make a book like this as patient-centred as possible.

The response was overwhelming: a huge number of people came up with a brilliant list of suggestions, and a willing contingent of authors stepped forward. We worked with everyone to whittle down the suggestions into a list of the important topics that had to be included and slotted these into units. The result was 75 chapters on everything that our democratic process churned out!

24 months later, the finished product is now hitting the shelves – after a slight delay related to Covid-19 (which has probably made the book even more relevant). While it would be impossible to tell you all the reasons we think you should read this book, we have chosen a few highlights that we hope will convince you!

The book deals with oft-neglected topics such as:

  • Sexuality
  • Oral Health
  • Psychological Input
  • The Patient Story
  • Informal Care

Our authors challenge ideas such as “no rehab potential” and ask “what can we do to help patients and families?”

Want to see what rehab equipment is commonly used? Want to know how to maintain brain health? How to avoid deconditioning? How to manage swallow rehabilitation in frailty? All these topics are covered. Spasticity, pulmonary rehabilitation, the ageing athlete, lymphoedema rehabilitation, how to run a care planning meeting – all concisely set out by amazing authors.

One of the things we are most proud of is that authors were receptive of our suggestion that they write their chapter in a jargon-free way so that it was accessible to a wide audience. In particular, we really hope that patients and families will pick up this book and find useful information. We have included a Resources section to help with this. The opening chapter is on “Person-Centred Care” and we hope that ethos permeates the whole text. For students (or anyone who likes a test) there are multiple choice questions at the end of the chapter so you can test your knowledge!

We think there has never been a more important time to have strong, patient-centred rehabilitation that is conducted in an evidence-based manner. As team members we have so much to learn from each other, and it is in that spirit that we offer you our new textbook. We hope that it helps you to spread the word about the value of rehabilitation and ensure that you can maximise the potential of all your patients.


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