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January 16, 1960


Author Affiliations


President, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Chief, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service, Veterans Administration Research Hospital; Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University Medical School.

JAMA. 1960;172(3):213-218. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020030007002

The United States has about 30 million people, out of a total population of 178 million, with varying degrees of chronic disease or impairment Mere prolongation of life is an empty achievement unless the sick and the handicapped are helped to regain the maximum level of self-help to attain a useful, dignified life. About 20 million Americans enter hospitals each year. About 16% of persons with chronic disease are under 35 years of age. Unless adequate maintenance rehabilitation is continued, the danger that a partially disabled person will deteriorate eventually to a state of total dependency is real. The problem of rehabilitating the longterm patient is therefore one of tremendous magnitude. To keep pace with an increasing population, the number of personnel as well as the number of approved facilities must be increased to provide care and rehabilitation. Adequate medical direction is essential.