Eric J. Cassell

in The Nature of Healing

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195369052
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979103 | DOI:

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Human functioning is the overriding, all encompassing activity that includes the entire range from the cellular to the spiritual. It is never entirely still or absent except in death. To think of sickness in terms of functioning implies consideration of living beings with minds, emotions, thoughts, intentions, choice, and agency—the ability to act—in other words, persons. We cannot really know about functioning humans without knowing the state of the body and bodily functions and what the person is doing and for what reasons or intentions. The basic aim of healers must be the enabling or return of function so that patients may pursue or achieve their purposes and goals. This requires an understanding of sickness that is different from the contemporary concepts of disease. Impairment, impediment, handicap, and disability are defined. The use of the International Classification of Function and its terms are discussed, as well as the importance of understanding process. Illustrative cases are presented.

Keywords: function; disability; impairment; process; holism; reductionism; palliative care; pain; cognition

Chapter.  14586 words. 

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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