Journal Article

What attributes should a specialist in rehabilitation have? Seven suggested specialist capabilities in practice


Problem: Many services and professionals refer to themselves as providing rehabilitation. There is no agreed method for determining whether someone has specific expertise in rehabilitation. This makes it difficult for patients and payers to know whether professionals who claim to provide rehabilitation are specifically expert in rehabilitation. Context: Doctors have a medical speciality of rehabilitation. The medical training curriculum gives attributes that differentiate a rehabilitation specialist from other doctors. Until recently, these attributes were competencies to undertake activities associated with specialization. Apart from nurses, who have at least one, unofficial, curriculum identifying specific competencies, other professions involved in rehabilitation do not have any way to show specialization in rehabilitation. Capabilities in Practice: The U.K. General Medical Council accredits specialist medical training. It has moved from specifying multiple practical clinical competencies to specifying fewer high-level ‘Capabilities in Practice’. Six are generic to all doctors, eight identify the trained doctor as having specialist rehabilitation skills. This article adopts this approach to put forward seven generic and seven specialist capabilities to identify any professional as having special expertise in rehabilitation. The seven specialist capabilities centre on the biopsychosocial model of illness and multidisciplinary teamwork. Four of them could be used to define a specialist rehabilitation team. Conclusion: Seven capabilities identifying specialization in rehabilitation are put forward for discussion. They could form the basis of a formal recognition that any professional has additional expertise in rehabilitation. A validating authority would be needed to provide oversight and governance.

Attached files


Wade, Derek T.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-07-24

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Related resources

This RADAR resource is Identical to What attributes should a specialist in rehabilitation have? Seven suggested specialist capabilities in practice


  • Owner: Joseph Ripp
  • Collection: Outputs
  • Version: 1 (show all)
  • Status: Live
  • Views (since Sept 2022): 450