Special communication| Volume 100, ISSUE 5, P995-1000, May 2019

Geriatric Rehabilitation Should Not Be an Oxymoron: A Path Forward

  • Jonathan F. Bean
    Corresponding author Jonathan F. Bean, MD, MS, MPH, New England GRECC, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 S Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02130. Tel: 857-364-2786.
    New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

    Department of PM&R, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

    Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
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  • Ariela R. Orkaby
    New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

    Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

    Division of Aging, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    Search for articles by this author
  • Jane A. Driver
    New England Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

    Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

    Division of Aging, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    Search for articles by this author
Published:February 05, 2019DOI:


      Older adults are the fastest growing segment of our population and contribute greatly to the high costs of health care. The primary concern among older adults seeking health care is maintaining or improving functional independence. This concern is the focus of both rehabilitative care and geriatric medicine; however, collaboration between these fields can be hampered by a lack of mutual understanding of the fundamental principles of the other field. We describe 3 steps that can be implemented at an organizational or individual level to bridge the fields of geriatric medicine and rehabilitation, allowing them to better serve older patients. These include (1) recognizing the interwoven concepts of multimorbidity, function, and frailty; (2) communicating with a common language; and (3) synthesizing our knowledge from both fields.


      List of abbreviations:

      ICD (International Classification of Disease), ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health), PM&R (physical medicine and rehabilitation)
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