Field Manual of Rehabilitation

This manual is not a textbook of traumatology; rather it is specifically directed towards the rehabilitation of survivors of TOV, from 3 months after the trauma and onwards. It is an attempt to provide practical recommendations for health workers at different skill levels.
ISBN/ISSN: 978-87-90878443(PDF)

Since many years, DIGNITY representatives in the field have received numerous questions about specific health advice regarding torture survivors and their rehabilitation. The new DIGNITYField Manual on Rehabilitation is intended to meet that need for evidence-based or consensus-based advice in attempts to rehabilitate survivors of TOV in regions lacking specialized medical care.

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Rehabilitation approach
The organization and emphasis of the manual is one of its kind. It is problem-oriented, not professionally oriented, since the survivor presents with one or several problems and does not usually have access to multi-professional healthcare. It uses the globally developed concepts of the International Classification of Functioning & Disability (ICF; WHO, 2001) rather than diagnoses from Western medicine. This serves to emphasize the rehabilitation approach, which is focused on a person's ability to be active and to participate, rather than on disease or on remaining injury. Thus the problems are listed in the three sections: Body Functions; Activities & Participation and Context.

Interdisciplinary and integrated approach
Each entry word defines a problem that a survivor may experience and the advice given is presented at three levels: 1) for a healthcare assistant or layman with some training); 2) for a healthcare professional; and 3) for a physician with the relevant specialization. A separate section details commonly employed therapies in TOV survivor rehabilitation, followed by selected references. The compilation has an interdisciplinary and integrated approach and contains physical, physiological, pharmacological, psychological, social, psychiatric and therapeutic aspects.

Emphasizing cultural perspectives
At RCT, we are very much aware that the general knowledge and cultural traditions in a local community are extremely important for the satisfactory outcome of rehabilitation efforts. Therefore, the manual is by no means an attempt to impose a Western model of health care without acknowledging local customs and practices. Only by acknowledging and integrating local concepts of health, disease and healing can rehabilitation, group cohesiveness and empowerment be successfully promoted. RCT therefore recommends that the advice given should be combined with such contextual inputs.

Evidence base and experience
Hopefully, the manual will constitute a valuable tool and guide in therapy, not only for survivors of TOV, but also those of other psychosocial traumas. The authors have been assembled from present and past staff from the RCT rehabilitation, research and international departments, using up-to-date systematic reviews of controlled clinical trials as well as their extensive experience in rehabilitation for the advice given. The text is also the result of active and open exchange via workshops and the RCT's joint work with partners. It is through this open and integrated approach between science, practice and contextual experience that RCT may contribute significantly as a knowledge center.


Torture has been called ‘the mother of all human rights violations’. As long as a country practices or tolerates torture, people will be reluctant to speak, assemble and participate in the political life. Stopping torture is the first step towards improving human rights in general.

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