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Functioning as the focus of allied health care

A plea for a transition to ‘health-in all’ care based on an integrative concept of health

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that a focus on biomedical parameters only (i.e., morbidity and mortality rates) is insufficient to cope with the consequences of COVID-19. This applies both to the people who are infected as well as to the health of all citizens. We need a broader and more integrative view on health, such as Positive Health, the Capability Approach, and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). 

By using the ICF concept of functioning as the third indicator of health, we can truly  accelerate a broadly implemented and patient-led, health-in-all care system and health equity for all. By using functioning we can monitor the functioning of individuals with (long lasting results of) a (chronic) disease, such as survivors of COVID-19, but also the functioning of the population as a whole, and we can promote health equity. 

To do so, we need a healthcare system that enables people to really shape their life in a way  that is meaningful to them, considering the physical, emotional and social challenges they  face, and to a society that stimulates them in doing so.  

Although many allied health professionals are already using the biopsychosocial approach, it remains necessary to train all (allied) health care professionals in such a way that they can help people to shape their lives and to put the wishes and possibilities of clients in the center of their care. This means a shift from a biomedical approach to a biopsychosocial approach.

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