portillo m.c. & cowley s. (2011) Social rehabilitation in long-term conditions: learning about the process. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(6), 1329–1340.
Aim. This paper is a report of a study of the process of social rehabilitation, and the analysis of the main elements and influencing factors which are important in the process.
Background. The process of social rehabilitation lacks conceptual and empirical understanding in Neurology because most rehabilitation programmes have focused on cognitive and physical recovery.
Methods. An action research project was undertaken in two neurological wards of a highly specialized hospital in Spain, and was completed in 2006. A social rehabilitation programme based on the assessment of social needs and individualized social education was planned with health professionals, and implemented and evaluated with patients and carers. Several instruments were used to explore how patients and carers perceived the process of social rehabilitation before and after the programme: semi-structured interviews, socio-demographic forms, field notes, participant observations, and scales of activities of daily living, social impairment and adjustment. Comparative content and statistical analyses were undertaken.
Findings. Social rehabilitation was identified as a dynamic process in which the environment, activities, social interaction, self-recognition and awareness of social problems, coping and satisfaction played an essential role. Some defining criteria for social rehabilitation related to patients’ and carers’ attitudes, behaviour and the external implications that the socialization process had for them.
Conclusion. This study shows the advantages of multidisciplinary work, and user and family involvement in social rehabilitation and provides in-depth knowledge about how patients and carers experience and could face barriers to develop a role in their family environment, social groups and society.