We work in a world of traumas and triumphs. Most of the persons we serve come to us out of necessity, struggling with the sequelae of disease and illness or the aftermath of natural or manmade disasters. We bring our expertise and compassion; they bring their bodies, minds, and compromised lives. Our worlds converge around a shared task: identifying and enhancing their capacities for daily living. We pursue problems of movement, perception, cognition, affect, and social capacity within the context of their roles and aspirations. Our contacts may be extensive, but often they are brief and only partially fulfilled. Our patients move on with varying degrees of functional ability – some with determination and buoyancy, others with little confidence that life is actually worth living. We remain, frequently knowing little about the factors that have influenced the outcome of our efforts, in spite of their compelling importance to our patients, our professional viability, and the health care system.

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