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Prof Diane Playford
Box 113, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Queen Square
  • Honorary Professor
  • UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Research Themes
Research Summary
My research interests focus on rehabilitation process and outcome including developing and evaluating new services and care pathways. Research has focused on goal setting, vocational rehabilitation and upper limb recovery in stroke. Typical studies use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies and involve collaboration with the neurological outcome measurement unit.

A recently completed study of goal setting has shown that patients prefer increased participation in the goal setting process over
standard procedures, perceiving their goals as more relevant and rehabilitation more patient centred despite the absence of functional gains. Effective patient centred care can be realised by using structures that help
support patients to identify and communicate their priorities.

Funding from the MS society has allowed us to develop and evaluate models of vocational rehabilitation for people with M. S. Focus group methodology was used to define the interventions that people with MS, would find helpful. This work suggested that PwMS need support in the workplace that can be delivered in two distinct ways. First, by managing the interaction between the impairments caused by MS, the physical environment, and the demands imposed by the work. This work would best be performed by an occupational therapist with expertise in vocational rehabilitation. Second, by providing expert knowledge about the employment environment and the needs of employers, an awareness of the relevant legislation and counselling in supporting people to adapt, adjust and resolve complex issues. This could be performed by an occupational therapists but other models for delivering this type of help also exist such as the use of rehabilitation counselors in Australia. This work was followed by an intervention study which demonstrated significant gains following a vocational rehabilitation at relatively low cost, typical interventions costing approximately 800. We are now undertaking a randomised control trial of an early brief intervention for people with multiple sclerosis using cost benefit as the primary outcome.

Recent funding from the Stroke Association will allow us to evaluate the role of a robotic assistive aid, to allow repetitive upper limb practice following a stroke.

Teaching Summary
Chair, SAC rehabilitation medicine
Chair, Education subcommittee British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine

interested in competency development and evaluation.
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