Preferences for rehabilitation service delivery: A comparison of the views of patients, occupational therapists and other rehabilitation clinicians using a discrete choice experiment

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Understanding the differences in preferences of patients and occupational therapists for the way in which rehabilitation services are provided is important. In particular, it is unknown whether new approaches to rehabilitation such as high intensity therapy and virtual reality programs are more or less acceptable than traditional approaches.


A discrete choice experiment was conducted to assess and compare the acceptability of these new approaches, relative to other characteristics of the rehabilitation program. The study included patients participating in a stroke or medical rehabilitation program (n = 100), occupational therapists (n = 23) and other clinicians (n = 91) working in rehabilitation settings at three hospitals in South Australia. Data were analysed using a conditional (fixed-effects) logistic regression model.


The model coefficient attached to very high intensity therapy programs (defined as six hours per day) was negative and highly statistically significant for both patients and therapists indicating aversion for this option. In addition, other rehabilitation clinicians and patients were strongly averse to the use of virtual reality programs (as evidenced by the negative and highly statistically significant coefficient attached to this attribute for both groups) relative to occupational therapists.


The comparison of the views of patients, occupational therapists and other rehabilitation clinicians revealed some differences. All participants (patients and clinicians) showed an inclination for programs that resulted in the best recovery. However, patients expressed stronger preferences than clinicians for traditional therapy approaches. As a group, occupational therapists were most likely to accept approaches such as virtual reality suggesting changes away from traditional delivery methods will be more readily integrated into practice.

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