A review of salient elements defining team collaboration in paediatric rehabilitation

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To explicate the complex process of team collaboration and identify salient elements of team collaboration in paediatric rehabilitation.

Data sources

After an initial search to define key features of team collaboration a systematic search on team collaboration and the key features was executed to identify salient elements. The systematic search was carried out in Index Medicus (MEDLINE), Educational Resource Information Clearinghouse (ERIC) and American Psychological Association (PsycINFO) covering the period from January 1993 to December 2004.

Review methods

Based on title and abstract relevant publications were identified and qualitatively assessed by two reviewers. To facilitate the interpretation of the salient elements, the articles were also classified according to the criteria ‘participants and setting’ and ‘research method’.


Of the total of 930 identified publications 28 studies proved eligible and were subsequently assessed. The evaluation yielded 29 salient elements defining five key features of team collaboration (i.e. communication, decision making, goal setting, organization and team process). Parent involvement proved to play a dominant role and was mentioned in relation to all five features.


Based on the results, rather than an underlying element, it is proposed to consider parent involvement as the sixth feature of team collaboration. The 29 distinctive elements of teamwork could be useful as a guideline and checklist for empirical studies and may help enhance multidisciplinary collaboration in paediatric care. However, additional exploratory research focusing on the way these elements interact with each other and the key features and whether they facilitate or restrict team collaboration is warranted.

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