Open Access Open Badges Research article

Developing community based rehabilitation for cancer survivors: organizing for coordination and coherence in practice

Karen la Cour1* and Malcolm P Cutchin2

Author Affiliations

1 Research Initiative of Activity Studies and Occupational Therapy, Research Unit Health, Man and Society, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, J. B. Winsløws Vej 9, 5000 Odense, Denmark

2 Department of Health Care Sciences, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Wayne State University, Detroit, USA

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BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:339  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-339

Published: 2 September 2013



Increasing incidences of cancer combined with prolonged survival have raised the need for developing community based rehabilitation. The objectives of the analysis were to describe and interpret the key issues related to coordination and coherence of community-based cancer rehabilitation in Denmark and to provide insights relevant for other contexts.


Twenty-seven rehabilitation managers across 15 municipalities in Denmark comprised the sample. The study was designed with a combination of data collection methods including questionnaires, individual interviews, and focus groups. A Grounded Theory approach was used to analyze the data.


A lack of shared cultures among health care providers and systems of delivery was a primary barrier to collaboration which was essential for establishing coordination of care. Formal multidisciplinary steering committees, team-based organization, and informal relationships were fundamental for developing coordination and coherence.


Coordination and coherence in community-based rehabilitation relies on increased collaboration, which may best be optimized by use of shared frameworks within and across systems. Results highlight the challenges faced in practical implementation of community rehabilitation and point to possible strategies for its enhancement.