Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Jan;95(1 Suppl):S24-32.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2013.05.034.

Development of a theory-driven rehabilitation treatment taxonomy: conceptual issues.

Author information

Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Elkins Park, PA. Electronic address:
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.
Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Elkins Park, PA.


Many rehabilitation treatment interventions, unlike pharmacologic treatments, are not operationally defined, and the labels given to such treatments do not specify the active ingredients that produce the intended treatment effects. This, in turn, limits the ability to study and disseminate treatments, to communicate about them clearly, or to train new clinicians to administer them appropriately. We sought to begin the development of a system of classification of rehabilitation treatments and services that is based on their active ingredients. To do this, we reviewed a range of published descriptions of rehabilitation treatments and treatments that were familiar to the authors from their clinical and research experience. These treatment examples were used to develop preliminary rules for defining discrete treatments, identifying the area of function they directly treat, and identifying their active ingredients. These preliminary rules were then tested against additional treatment examples, and problems in their application were used to revise the rules in an iterative fashion. The following concepts, which emerged from this process, are defined and discussed in relation with the development of a rehabilitation treatment taxonomy: rehabilitation treatment taxonomy; treatment and enablement theory; recipient (of treatment); essential, active, and inactive ingredients; mechanism of action; targets and aims of treatment; session; progression; dosing parameters; and social and physical environment. It is hoped that articulation of the conceptual issues encountered during this project will be useful to others attempting to promote theory-based discussion of rehabilitation effects and that multidisciplinary discussion and research will further refine these rules and definitions to advance rehabilitation treatment classification.


Behavior and behavior mechanisms; Classification; Environment; ICF; International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health; Patient education as topic; RTT; Rehabilitation; Social environment; Therapeutics; rehabilitation treatment taxonomy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center