Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development)
Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System
Mary Ferraro, PhD, OTR/L
Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Jarrad Van Stan, PhD, CCC-SLP
Assistant Professor, Speech Language Pathologist, Adjunct Professor
Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, MGH Institute of Health Professions
Body of Abstract: The ultimate goal of rehabilitation research and clinical education is to enable rehabilitation clinicians to provide effective care that optimizes patient outcomes. A barrier to this ideal is the lack of a universal system for describing, or specifying, rehabilitation interventions. Current methods of description vary across disciplines and settings, creating barriers to collaboration. In addition, the tendency to characterize treatments mostly in terms of functional deficits and anticipated outcomes obscures connections between clinician behaviors (e.g. words, actions, use of devices and substances, etc.) and patient changes in functioning. A systematic, well-organized and theory-driven system for specifying the essential elements of rehabilitation interventions is needed.
The Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System (RTSS) is the result of more than a decade of effort by a multidisciplinary group of rehabilitation clinicians and researchers to develop a theory-based framework to specify rehabilitation interventions. Support for RTSS development has been provided by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).
The RTSS describes clinical treatments in terms of “treatment components,” with each component defined based on its underlying treatment theory—a statement that links clinician actions with expected changes in functioning. Treatment theories are considered to have three parts: