Integrating Patients as Partners

I am hoping to set the tone for this blog and urge everyone linked to rehabilitation to stop and think about their connections with each other. In the rehab world, we have been talking about patient-centered care for years, but what about patient integrated care? Placing the patient at the middle of the equation is important, however it might not be the most effective way to conduct research or intervene as a clinician.

A recent blog from the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) sparked this conversation for me today. It showed how decisions, research, new interventions or program can be and SHOULD be influenced a priori by the patients. The  OBI’S “Patient Advisory Committees (PAC)” promote the implication of the patients, families and caregivers in being partners in research and clinical dissemination.

Now, as a clinician, how much room is left for the patient to be a true partner in his rehabilitation care? This is the new question we must ask ourself. Being patient-centered is not quite an equal partnership relationship. How can we, as therapist, integrate the patient in the decision making and treatment planning is the real question!

First, let’s start by asking them what is truly important to them and what would be the best way to achieve it. In my opinion we are often to quick to offer solutions or intervention options. We need to resist our urge to “fix” everything and  take a small step back in order to better understand where our patient is coming from and where he is going.

I hope this has captured your interest and made you reflect on how to better integrate our patients as partners of care.




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