From The Editor

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As this issue's feature article, "Total Patient Care: Just a Dream?" points out, a strong multidisciplinary rehab team is highly instrumental in achieving the goal of optimal patient outcomes.

When team care is possible, how can members cooperate successfully together for maximum results?

The University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension describes the characteristics of good team building, which include: good people skills and a commitment to the team approach on the part of the team leader; a relaxed climate for communication and mutual trust among team members; well-defined team roles and objectives; and the capacity to create new ideas.

A proactive--rather than a reactive--approach works best, the Cooperative Extension points out:

  • Team members jointly determine the way they are going to work together as a team and what they want to happen. "When individuals and the entire team choose to operate this way and are willing to set petty differences aside, unbelievable results become possible," the Extension notes.
  • Having a well-defined purpose or vision of what the team will accomplish is a powerful force for the team leader and members.
  • Team members have a positive attitude toward change and are willing to accept and allow change to occur as needed in order to accomplish desired results.
  • Team members verbally and publicly support each other, recognizing that negative comments about others tear the team down.

The Cooperative Extension points out, "Team leaders and members that make a conscious, sustained effort to make these&[and other] characteristics a part of their mindset will find that both creativity and accomplishment of desired results will be much higher than it would be otherwise."

And for rehab teams, the one who benefits most from a successful team is the most important team member--the patient.

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