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The health care professionals' perspectives of collaboration in rehabilitation – an interview study




In previous literature, it has been recognised that the extent to which different healthcare professionals collaborate may affect both the quality and safety of care, and patient outcomes. Collaboration appears to be an essential part of professional practice, yet there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of collaboration in the context of short-term care units. Therefore, this study was undertaken to better understand how professionals in this context view collaboration.


To describe collaboration in rehabilitation from the perspective of healthcare professionals.


Qualitative interviews were conducted with ten healthcare professionals, including: occupational therapists, physiotherapists and nurses, who worked in three different short-term care settings. The interviews were transcribed, and qualitative content analysis was used.


Four categories, all of which included both positive and negative descriptions of collaboration, were identified: (i) Crossing professional and organisational boundaries (ii) Awareness of own professional identity (iii) Information and knowledge transfer and (iv) Balancing between patient, system and process.


The findings indicate the importance of leadership and organisational structures for stimulating communication, and promoting collaboration between team members. In addition, working as a professional in short-term care requires individual skills in collaboration efforts, including awareness of one's own professional identity.

Relevance to clinical practice

Opportunities for supervision could be one way to increase individuals' awareness of their own role in the team.