This volume in The SAGE Reference Series on Disability explores health and medical issues for people with disabilities. It is one of eight volumes in the cross-disciplinary and issues-based series, which incorporates links from varied fields making up disability studies as volumes examine topics central to the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. With a balance of history, theory, research, and application, specialists set out the findings and implications of research and practice for others whose current or future work involves the care or study of those with disabilities, as well as for the disabled themselves. The concise, engaging presentational style emphasizes accessibility. Taken individually, each volume sets out the fundamentals of the topic it addresses, accompanied by compiled data and statistics, recommended further readings, a guide to organizations and associations, and other annotated resources, thus providing the ideal introductory platform and gateway for further study. Taken together, the series represents both a survey of major disability issues and a guide to new directions and trends and contemporary resources in the field as a whole.

Introduction, Background, and History

Introduction, background, and history

Healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations play a vital role in the health and wellness of people with disabilities. They define the nature and extent of disabilities; they work to prevent disabilities from occurring at various levels; they identify and treat the multitude of diseases, injuries, and conditions that cause disabilities; they help patients and clients manage their existing disabilities; and they work to rehabilitate people with disabilities.

Healthcare professionals address disabilities at both the population and individual levels. For example, public health professionals, such as health educators, public health social workers, and public health nurses, work to prevent disabilities from occurring in communities, groups, and populations. They also work to prevent secondary conditions, such as depression, pressure sores, and ...

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