A qualitative study of healthcare provider perspectives on measuring functional outcomes in geriatric rehabilitation

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To explore, from the perspective of healthcare providers, the barriers to and facilitators of using standardized outcome measures of physical function in geriatric rehabilitation settings.


In-depth semi-structured interviews with medical doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists were conducted from three geriatric rehabilitation hospitals in Ontario. Qualitative content analysis through an inductive approach was used to identify barriers to and facilitators of outcome measurement in geriatric rehabilitation settings.


A total of 20 healthcare providers from different disciplines were interviewed. Barriers are standardized outcome measures that (1) cannot be used in isolation to inform clinical decision-making for older patients, (2) are difficult to complete and interpret in older complex patients, (3) may not be useful for all members of the clinical team and (4) are used for reasons unrelated to patient care. Facilitators are to (1) divide the standardized outcome measure into components that are useful for each team member’s practice, (2) encourage standardized outcome measures as tools for improving daily communication and (3) provide adequate education and support for their daily use.


This study revealed important barriers to using standardized outcome measures in geriatric rehabilitation from the perspective of healthcare providers. However, it also identified multiple factors that may help facilitate their use.

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