People experiencing disability and chronic disease often feel powerless, relinquishing medical control to “more knowledgeable” professionals. This article presents qualitative and quantitative results from three individual patients experiencing an emerging procedure called Recovery Preference Exploration (RPE). To inspire greater patient involvement, self-direction, and individual choice, we instructed participants to create an imagined recovery path, exposing recovery preferences while learning about clinical rehabilitation concepts. Results uncovered important values and feelings about disability, providing a richer context for patient evaluation and treatment goal modification. Applying mixed methods, RPE is presented as an explanatory process for quantifying recovery preferences in a way that stimulates rich narrative of how people see different types of disabilities. RPE shows promise for increasing depth of discussions among patients, family, and clinicians. RPE may promote greater quality of life through patient empowerment by directed learning, increased communication, and enhanced self-knowledge.
Kurz, A.E., Saint-Louis, N., Burke, J.P., & Stineman, M.G. (2008). Exploring the personal reality of disability and recovery: A tool for empowering the rehabilitation process. Qualitative Health Research, 18(1), 90-105. doi: 10.1177/1049732307309006