Abstract

Objectives. The purpose of this study was to learn about (a) adult physical rehabilitation patients’ perceptions of their involvement in the treatment planning process (goal setting, treatment planning, outcome evaluation), (b) their valuation of occupational therapy, and (c) how they would describe their interpersonal relationships with their occupational therapists.

Method. Fifteen subjects who had received occupational therapy were interviewed. The transcripts were independently and jointly reviewed by the authors to answer five research questions.

Results. Most of the subjects indicated that they had been involved in occupational therapy goal setting; treatment planning; and outcome evaluation, albeit this indication was weak. They also valued the occupational therapy services they received. Eight described positive interpersonal interactions with their therapists, and seven provided no information.

Conclusion. Patients receiving occupational therapy services are involved in goal setting, treatment planning, and outcome evaluation; however, their involvement varies and can be difficult for them to identify and describe. Because of increasing societal emphasis on patient rights and participation (e.g., consumerism, health professions standards, health care accreditation criteria, health care legislation) and the likelihood that health care funding will be used for services linked to patient goals, occupational therapy practitioners could become more overt and systematic in involving patients in the planning process. Increasing patient involvement in planning may result in more individualized treatment and more effective use of health care dollars.

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