Topics and impressions

Did you know that 1 out 5 people cannot find the plumber in the yellow pages because they cannot read the words? Low literacy is a significant problem when engaging with the health service. Phillis Easton points out that two-third of people with low literacy may have a long-term condition.


A framework, called Talking Mats R, developed by Dr Joan Murphy and colleagues can facilitate conversations in rehabilitation and other settings. It has been used with various populations, including people with aphasia, dementia, learning difficulties, and others.


Receptivity appears to be a key concept when considering doctor’s offices. Research by Dr Holly Hollingsworth and colleagues at Washington University has sought to uncover the central predictive person and environment variables that determine provider office accessibility.


Everyone is a designer, says Hazel White. Creativity is not the domain of professionals. Participation requires innovative, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and approaches.


How much do we really know about our natural environment? The project ‘Woods for Health’, part-supported by the Forestry Commission, presented by Lisa Gallacher, can contribute to the well-being of people with mental health difficulties.


The power of art in stroke rehabilitation was illustrated by Chris Kelly in his presentation.



Turning your presentation into a published article

Rehabilitation Process and Outcome is a new online journal. The journal seeks to close a gap in its interdisciplinary focus and acceptance of innovative contributions to conceptualisation, measurement and evidence base for rehabilitation and participation. Feel free to contact the editor Dr Thilo Kroll t.kroll @ with queries or publication ideas or submit your paper online. The journal guarantees a quick peer review (3 weeks). All accepted articles are published within days of their acceptance. So, it may be just about a month between reading this and seeing your paper published online. Check out the journal website for more information

How do we make participation happen?

Have your say. Please continue the dialogue we started at the conference. What are the key ingredients to facilitate participation? What is the role of professionals? Can it be measured? If so, how? What are the different forms of participation? Happy blogging!


Perspectives on participation

“We need to create opportunities”
“Participation is broad…we need to go into the community to understand participation”
“Supporting participation has to go beyond the health service focus”
“We have to help people to become participatory”
“Building capacity for all aspects of life”
“Accessibility, accommodation are features of participation that are obvious. We need to be clear about the goal. We need to be clear what participation is. We glob on concepts such as social capital, community integration etc and pretend that we know what we are talking about”
“the individual only exists as part of the community and the community exists because of individuals; everything is interwoven”
“Maybe it does not matter whether participation is an endpoint or outcome”
“but as scientists we want to measure how we are doing…this is our trajectory. We have to be clear about our outcomes. This is where challenge comes in. We are talking about the human condition as an outcome. It is what we are. Resisting clarity.”
“the differrent beliefs and cultures of health care systems make it difficult to measure.”
“maybe we don’t have to work too hard to manufacture conditions”
“you always participate but how…”
“professionals create ceilings. Instead it is important to give people confidence to grow”
“should we as professionals participate in the individual patient’s life. We need to give back control and reframe support, so that people can use us”
“the one concept that was missing is responsibility. It is an element of dignity.”
“it is a question of good vs bad participation but who says what is what?”
“rehabilitation to support participation is a developmental concept, not restorative, it is forward focused”
“professionals as facilitators…some of the professions are still paternalistic…it requires a philosophical shift…to be creative and not only limit the professional involvement onto the biomedical or functional level.”
“acknowledge reciprocity…that people who are on the receiving end of rehabilitation also give. Need to give greater recognition that this is a two-way process.”
“connections between people, processes and practice are essential to promote participation”
“there is a range of freedom and motivation to engage…”

Participation necessitates dynamic social and physical environments that adapt to the variable and temporal nature of requirements, intentions, preferences, and actions and transactions between human beings.

A big thank you to all participants

These have been two truly memorable days and we would like to thank all participants for their contribution to the conference. Indeed a wonderful team effort, in which everyone of you has participated. We wish you a pleasant and safe journey home. Please keep in touch and continue to engage with our conference blog. We will be posting more conference information and pictures over the next few days.
Cheers Thilo, Jacqui and Fred

Welcome to Dundee

It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the 2011 International Conference on Rehabilitation and Participation in Long-Term Conditions: Building Bridges between Researchers, Practitioners and Service Users in Dundee. The conference is jointly organised between the Social Dimensions of Health Institute (SDHI) of the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews, the NHS Tayside, the School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of Dundee and the Alliance for Self Care Research (ASCR).
The conference will provide a multi-disciplinary forum for researchers, rehabilitation practitioners, and people with long-term conditions to share their views, expertise and work. It will bring together service users, academics and clinicians and other practitioners to debate the extent and form in which rehabilitation practices can support and enhance social participation.
Participation is understood in terms of the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and includes issues related to mobility, communication, self care, domestic life, leisure activities, interpersonal interactions and relationships, major life areas including community and civic life.
The conference aims to connect theory, practice and experiences relating to rehabilitation and social participation and to bring together professionals from multiple disciplines to share how this is being done.
We would like to acknowledge the contributions of everyone who thanks to their individual and collective involvement contribute to advances in rehabilitation and equitable social and societal participation.

The conference will be a forum to explore how participation is understood and how meaningful assessments can be undertaken.

It will examine the personal and environmental barriers and facilitators of participation, and diverse topics ranging from physical activity to vocational rehabilitation. We are pleased that several workshops will be offered as part of the conference: On evidence-synthesis, inclusive neurorehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation and physical activity.

Different experiences and perspectives from practice, research and living with a disability will be shared at the conference.

We hope that the conference will provide many opportunities to learn from one another, to exchange knowledge and expertise, to develop new professional links and innovative ideas in the area of rehabilitation and participation.

On behalf of the organising consortium we wish you enjoyable days in Dundee, Scotland.

Thilo Kroll
Acting Director of the Social Dimensions of Health Institute of the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews

Fred Comerford
Social Dimensions of Health Institute of the Universities of Dundee and St Andrews

Institute Manager,

Jacqui Morris
Research Lead, Allied Health Professions, NHS Tayside