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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 213-222

A Multidimensional View of Health

School of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Lynn Shaw
Candidate, Research Associate, School of Occupational Therapy, The University of Western Ontario, Elborn College, 1201 Western Rd., London, Ontario, N6G 1H1
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Context: Emergence and burgeoning of specialized health care structures have contributed to the diversity in health services. Inadvertently, the separation and resultant independent functioning of health and rehabilitation organizations have impeded opportunities for health care workers to interact with one another. Consequently, providers may lack knowledge on available health services within communities in which they preside. Educational approaches that can assist health professionals improve awareness of services across organizational divides are needed. Objectives: The new International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF), offers a multidimensional view of health, which can be used in education sessions to increase provider awareness of how health is mediated across health paradigms. This paper explores the conceptual basis of the ICF and its use in promoting a broader view of health essential for treating consumers with complex health problems and enhancing knowledge sharing amongst professionals. Methods: A single case study design is used to demonstrate how the ICF's conceptual framework offers providers a means to promote mutual understanding of differences in health services and to assist them in sharing knowledge on the services provided with others. Conclusion: Conceptually, the ICF can be used as a basis for structuring interorganizational educational initiatives to increase knowledge sharing amongst organizations and health care workers. In addition, introducing health professionals to a multidimensional view of health can assist them to understand the breadth of health services in the community and to consider a more comprehensive set of health determinants and dimensions in caring for consumers.

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