How the rehabilitation environment influences patient perception of service quality: a qualitative study

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jun;94(6):1112-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.11.007. Epub 2012 Nov 12.


Objective: To identify elements of the environment that patients consider when evaluating the quality of a care experience in outpatient rehabilitation settings.

Design: A qualitative study using a modified grounded theory approach. Data collection used semistructured interviewing during 9 focus groups.

Setting: Three postacute ambulatory centers in metropolitan areas.

Participants: Adults (N=57; 33 men, 24 women) undergoing outpatient rehabilitation for musculoskeletal conditions/injuries.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Not applicable.

Results: Participants perceived the quality of rehabilitation service on the basis of their experiences with environmental factors, including 3 physical factors (facility design, ambient conditions, and social factors) and 4 organizational factors (duration of attendance, interruptions during delivery of care, waiting times in the sequence of treatment, and patient safety).

Conclusions: This study identifies the specific environmental attributes that patients consider important when evaluating the quality of outpatient rehabilitation settings and develops a patient-based framework for assessing the overall perception of service quality. Further research should work to develop self-report questionnaires about patient experiences with the environment in rehabilitation services to provide empirical and quantitative evidence.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Rehabilitation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires