Interdisciplinary team working in physical and rehabilitation medicine
Vera Neumann, Christoph Gutenbrunner, Veronika Fialka-Moser, Nicolas Christodoulou, Enrique Varela, Alessandro Giustini, Alain Delarque, the Professional Practice Committee
Effective team working plays a crucial role in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM). As part of its role of optimizing and harmonizing clinical practice across Europe, the Professional Practice Committee of Union of European Medical Specialists (UEMS) Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM) Section reviewed patterns of team working and debated recommendations for good practice at a meeting of national UEMS delegates held in Riga, Latvia, in September 2008. This consensus statement is derived from that discussion and from a review of the literature concerning team working.
Effective team working produces better patient outcomes (including better survival rates) in a range of disorders, notably following stroke. There is limited published evidence concerning what constitute the key components of successful teams in PRM programmes. However, the theoretical basis for good team working has been well-described in other settings and includes agreed aims, agreement and understanding on how best to achieve these, a multi-professional team with an appropriate range of knowledge and skills, mutual trust and respect, willingness to share knowledge and expertise and to speak openly.
UEMS PRM Section strongly recommends this pattern of working. PRM specialists have an essential role to play in interdisciplinary teams; their training and specific expertise enable them to diagnose and assess severity of health problems, a prerequisite for safe intervention. Training spans 4–5 years in Europe, and includes knowledge and critical analysis of evidence-based rehabilitation strategies. PRM physicians are therefore well-placed to coordinate PRM programmes and to develop and evaluate new management strategies. Their broad training also means that they are able to take a holistic view of an individual patient’s care.
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