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MARE520 Rehabilitation: Theoretical Foundation

Course description for academic year 2020/2021

Contents and structure

This course reviews the unmet rehabilitation needs around the world, in particular in low-income and middle-income countries, will be explored using relevant WHO policy documents. This implies also comparison of various rehabilitation systems and services globally. The concepts and application of rehabilitation from several theoretical perspectives will be scrutinised, for instance the various definitions of rehabilitation and the ways it has been described, understood and practiced. The concepts of disability and normality and models of disablement will be highlighted and critically appraised. So will also the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). The stages of the rehabilitation process, with a special emphasis on the goal setting stage, will be on the agenda. In this course there will be focus on measurement in rehabilitation. The course will also examine the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System (RTSS), by which any rehabilitation treatment may be characterised. The advantages and challenges of interprofessional collaboration in rehabilitation will be highlighted. Reablement (or restorative care) is a relatively new form of rehabilitation, which will be explored. Finally, this course offers some reasons why we need to rethink rehabilitation`s assumptions and practices and outlines some ideas of how rehabilitation practices might be made more useful and relevant.

Learning Outcome

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The student...   

  • can analyse various concepts of rehabilitation
  • has advanced knowledge of concepts and theories related to description, classification and understanding of function, participation and health 
  • has advanced knowledge of function, disability and rehabilitation historically, socially and globally 
  • can analyse the International classification of function, disability and health (ICF) 
  • has advanced knowledge of the concepts of normality and disability
  • have thorough insight into the medical, social and biopsychosocial disablement models
  • has advanced knowledge about reablement
  • has advanced knowledge of theories, models and types of outcomes measures in rehabilitation
  • has advanced knowledge person-centeredness and shared decision making

The student...   

  • can analyse critically how biomedical, psychological and sociological perspectives reflect rehabilitation within the global context 
  • can analyse, critically reflect on and apply the rehabilitation process (problem identification, needs assessment, goal setting, implementation, evaluation) 
  • can acknowledge opportunities and challenges within the various types of interprofessional team work
  • can employ the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification System (RTSS) on a rehabilitation intervention
  • can conduct cross-country analysis of rehabilitation services models    

General competence:  
The student...   

  • can communicate theoretical foundation and policy and legal frameworks related to rehabilitation to various audiences 
  • can communicate to various audiences how structures, social relationships and the resources and constraints of individuals globally
  • can promote or inhibit the person's opportunities for function participation and health 
  • can contribute to discussion of existing theories and practice and identify knowledge gaps and the need for new knowledge 
  • can communicate theoretical foundation, policy and legal frameworks related to rehabilitation to various audiences
  • can critically communicate common assumptions within rehabilitation
  • can contribute to discussion of existing theories and practice, and identify knowledge gaps and the need for new knowledge regarding rehabilitation
  • can communicate the global needs for rehabilitation

Entry requirements

Admission to Master`s Programme in Healthy Ageing and Rehabilitation

Recommended previous knowledge


Teaching methods

  • Synchronous and asynchronous sessions. Participation in online discussions
  • Assigned readings
  • Individual work
  • Digital lectures

Supervision and feedback

Compulsory learning activities

  • Reflection paper (400 words)
  • Digital poster
  • Participation in online discussions
  • Initial plan for term paper (200-250 words)

Fulfilled course requirements are valid for three subsequent semesters.
The course requirements must be fulfilled in order to take the exam.


A written, individual term paper, 4000 words +/- 10%

Grading scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

New exam
When the grade F (fail) is given, the students can improve their term paper and hand it in for the new exam.

Examination support material

No limitations

More about examination support material