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Implementation in rehabilitation: a roadmap for practitioners and researchers

Morris, Jacqui H.; Bernhardsson, Susanne; Bird, Marie-Louise; Connell, Louise; Lynch, Elizabeth; Jarvis, Kathryn; Kayes, Nicola M.; Miller, Kim; Mudge, Suzie; Fisher, Rebecca

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Jacqui H. Morris

Susanne Bernhardsson

Marie-Louise Bird

Louise Connell

Elizabeth Lynch

Kathryn Jarvis

Nicola M. Kayes

Kim Miller

Suzie Mudge

Rebecca Fisher


Purpose: Despite growth in rehabilitation research, implementing research findings into rehabilitation practice has been slow. This creates inequities for patients and is an ethical issue. However, methods to investigate and facilitate evidence implementation are being developed. This paper aims to make these methods relevant and accessible for rehabilitation researchers and practitioners.

Methods: Rehabilitation practice is varied and complex and occurs within multilevel healthcare systems. Using a “road map” analogy, we describe how implementation concepts and theories can inform implementation strategies in rehabilitation. The roadmap involves a staged journey that considers: the nature of evidence; context for implementation; navigation tools for implementation; strategies to facilitate implementation; evaluation of implementation outcomes; and sustainability of implementation. We have developed a model to illustrate the journey, and four case studies exemplify implementation stages in rehabilitation settings.

Results and Conclusions: Effective implementation strategies for the complex world of rehabilitation are urgently required. The journey we describe unpacks that complexity to provide a template for effective implementation, to facilitate translation of the growing evidence base in rehabilitation into improved patient outcomes. It emphasizes the importance of understanding context and application of relevant theory, and highlights areas which should be targeted in new implementation research in rehabilitation.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 21, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 12, 2019
Publication Date Apr 12, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2020
Journal Disability and Rehabilitation
Print ISSN 0963-8288
Electronic ISSN 1464-5165
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 22
Pages 3265-3274
Keywords Knowledge translation; rehabilitation; implementation science; implementation context
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability and Rehabilitation on 12.04.2019, available online:


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