Ultrabilitation: Beyond recovery-oriented rehabilitation
Buetow, Stephen A.
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Buetow, S. A., Martínez-Martín, P. & McCormack, B. (2019) Ultrabilitation: Beyond recovery-oriented rehabilitation. Disability and Rehabilitation, 41 (6), pp. 740-745.
PURPOSE: Current rehabilitation models emphasize therapy that attempts to return to normal the lives of persons who are disabled. An opportunity is available to scrutinize whether this recovery orientation of rehabilitation is necessarily optimal. METHOD: This conceptual article uses reasoning, informed by experience and a nonsystematic review of literature across diverse disciplines. RESULTS: For some persons with disability, optimizing recovery might be unwanted or insufficient. To expand rehabilitation, we append the Latin ultra, beyond, to habilitare, make fit. The resulting term, ultrabilitate, commits to human flourishing that moves persons toward, around or beyond recovery of particular functioning. CONCLUSIONS: By expanding the scope of disability management, ultrabilitation could inform therapy selection and facilitate human flourishing. Empirical research is needed to test our ideas. Implications for rehabilitation Despite significant progress, rehabilitation limits some people with disabilities. Modern health systems still benchmark therapy for rehabilitation against normal or species-typical standards to aid recovery. Ultrabilitation, meaning beyond fitness, promotes flourishing, either without an interest in recovery or in moving toward, beyond or around recovery. Biological, social and technological conditions are needed to support ultrabilitation. Ultrabilitation complements rehabilitation when rehabilitation is not sufficient to optimize functioning and personal growth.