The Meaning of Involvement for Older People in their Rehabilitation after Acute Illness

Norman Rickard

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

5 Downloads (Pure)


As the population of people in the UK, over 65, increases and the welfare system moves from a collectivist, towards a consumerist system, involving older people in their rehabilitation and care becomes more important. It is recognised that the effectiveness of practices to increase involvement varies. The reasons for this include the lack of clarity about the meaning of involvement in health care. The aims of this research were to develop a substantive theory, which explains the meaning of involvement for older people in their rehabilitation after acute illness and facilitates recommendations for health care practice development. Grounded theory was employed to collect longitudinal data from four older people, their practitioners and support staff, during the participants’ rehabilitation stay of around six weeks in an Intermediate Care unit in the UK and at home. Data were collected using recorded, semi-structured interviews and conversations, from December 2008 to November 2009 and were analysed qualitatively. The findings suggest that involvement in rehabilitation operates through an Involvement Attribute set consisting of two interdependent groups of Involvement Attributes (the psychologically-based and the action-based). Collectively, the Involvement Attributes are: the possession of a Vision, Incentive and Goals, a positive Disposition; a propensity for Cognitive Development; Goal planning, setting and achievement; and Risk Management. To be maximally involved the Involvement Attribute set has to be strong, balanced and with alignment between the two groups. Involvement in rehabilitation is also related to the type of relationships developed with the health care staff and relatives. Improvements in Involvement Attribute sets require a move away from paternalistic relationships towards the collaborative, partnerships suggested within relationship-centred care. In this way, involvement of older people in rehabilitation is: “A joint commitment within therapeutic relationships to determine and be determined in the pursuit of an Involvement Attribute set that is strong, balanced and aligned”.
Original languageEnglish
  • Unsworth, John, Supervisor
  • Clarke, Charlotte L., Supervisor, External person
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'The Meaning of Involvement for Older People in their Rehabilitation after Acute Illness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this