Book Review: Rehabilitation Ethics for Interprofessional Practice

By | 24th June 2021

Review by Carly Wetzl, Concordia University of Edmonton


Title: Rehabilitation Ethics for Interprofessional Practice
Author(s) or Editor(s): Laura Lee Swisher and Charlotte Brasic Royeen

Place of publication and publishers: Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning
Date: 2020
Number of pages: 265
Price: $84.95 USD
ISBN number: 9781449673376 (paperback)

Rehabilitation Ethics for Interprofessional Practice is a textbook containing doctoral level clinical education, while remaining accessible and readable for practitioners in a variety of fields working within the realm of rehabilitation. The text begins by providing background of traditional medical ethics, highlighting how they often cannot properly address the ethical implications of the field of interprofessional rehabilitation. The authors also describe other common barriers towards successfully engaging in interprofessional rehabilitation ethics including differing clinical language between professions, professional hierarchy and divergent ethical theories. The text then explores the Dialogic Engagement Model, an ethical decision making framework and process for creating moral commons. From there, chapters are dedicated to specific ethical contexts considered within this model, including the topics such as informed consent, professional culture, rehabilitation of children and adolescents and acute care, while also focusing on implications of policy and reimbursement and how these systems may influence individual ethical considerations in a team. The authors, Swisher and Royeen, have taken years of experience, extensive research from a variety of sources and professional practice to structure the principles, theories, and models highlighted throughout this text.

The goal of the text is to teach the readers how to create a moral commons by using interprofessional dialogue and ethical analysis. It encourages practitioners to consider ethics in terms of groups, teams, and organizations rather than regarding ethics as an individual framework. The authors note that despite shared patient-centered focus, practitioners from different professional backgrounds seem to understand the ethics of beneficence in different ways, creating barriers for working and acting collaboratively. This text was a response to the increasing call for interprofessional education and collaborative practice, in which interprofessional ethics had been given little thought or attention.

While the text is quite dense in its content, it is easy to read and includes many points of reflection throughout each chapter to help the reader to digest the information presented. Each chapter opens with a list of key terms to familiarize the reader with the subject, and also includes additional educational components such as learning points, closing reflections and takeaway messages. It was important to the authors that the information be presented in a practical manner in order for the readers to properly apply the knowledge which they have learned.

The authors sought to teach the readers of how ethical structures of the past fall short of achieving moral agency and moral commons, and how a shared perspective and common language are integral in reaching this goal. Little has been explored in the area of interprofessional rehabilitation ethics, so in many ways this text is the first to address these considerations in detail. I believe this is an excellent start to a field of research and frameworks that will continue to impact upon interprofessional teams for years to come.

As expressed by the authors, it is no longer satisfactory to merely have education in your field of work, but to also have a comprehensive understanding in the foundations and practice of ethics that is relevant to your profession. This is an extremely valuable resource to all individuals working not only in rehabilitation, but within any interprofessional practice in healthcare, who are willing to venture outside of their silos and consider the context and impact of the team or organization in which ethical issues may arise.