Results from an MPH thesis show that patients want to participate in planning their own rehabilitation, together with therapists and clinicians. This ensures them control and overview during their rehabilitation process. “Professionals should give the patient room for participation,” says Hanne Vest Hansen, nursing specialist.
Her study shows that in a prolonged rehabilitation process for spinal cord injured patients, patient participation in patient conferences can be very helpful and provide great support for the patients. Patient conferences can contribute to the experience of control and overview in a chaotic situation.
The initial rehabilitation after a spinal cord injury is often longstanding and implicates severe demands on the patients. Multiple, lifelong and substantial disabilities often follow spinal cord injuries. To support the rehabilitation process all patients and their relatives are invited to participate in planning their own rehabilitation at interdisciplinary patient conferences.
In her study, Hanne Vest Hansen looked into the patients’ experiences of the conferences, and what this experience meant to them. The study shows that even the newly spinal cord injured- and grieving patients actively wanted to participate in decisions about their rehabilitation. The patients and their relatives also experienced the conferences as supportive in an otherwise chaotic situation. Participation creates motivation and helps to maintain integrity.