Professionals’ embodied orientations towards patients in discharge-planning meetings and their impact on patient participation


  • Sara Keel University of Basel
  • Veronika Schoeb Hong Kong Polytechnic University and University of Applied Sciences and Arts



conversation analysis, discharge planning, interdisciplinary meetings, rehabilitation, patient participation, professionals’ embodied orientation


To enhance the patient’s involvement, clinical guidelines on rehabilitation require the patient’s participation in the entire rehabilitation process, including discharge planning (DP). However, very little is known about how this institutional demand is actually dealt with in everyday clinical practice. Adopting a conversation analytic (CA) approach, our paper tackles the matter by looking at interdisciplinary entry meetings (IEMs) at a rehabilitation clinic in German-speaking Switzerland. Our study is based on audio-visual recordings of 11 IEMs, whose central aim is to formulate patients’ rehabilitation goals and to plan their discharge. The paper offers a detailed analysis of the embodied practices through which healthcare professionals seek to involve patients in the IEMs, and also investigates patients’ responses. Our analysis shows that, although carefully elaborated, the professionals’ practices do not elicit more than reactive patient participation. The paper argues that this is due to (1) the practices’ temporal positioning within the overall activity structure of the meeting – they are deployed when no important decision is at stake, projecting minimal patient participation on the phases in which decisions are taken – and (2) the actions the practices project on the next turn: confirmation, acknowledgement or ratification of what has previously been proposed by professionals.

Author Biographies

Sara Keel, University of Basel

Sara Keel is currently a Post-Doctoral researcher at the University of Basel. She holds an Ma in Sociology from the University of Geneva and received her PhD in human and Social Sciences at the University of neuchâtel (Ch) and in Language Sciences at the Uni versity of Lyon II (Fr). her research interests lie in the video-based analysis of face-to-face interactions in a variety of ordinary and institutional settings.

Veronika Schoeb, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Veronika Schoeb is assistant Professor in the Department of rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Scientific Collaborator at HESAV, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Western Switzerland (HES-SO). She holds a first degree in physiotherapy and received her PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from the University of nottingham (UK). Her research interests lie in patient–health professional communication and goal-setting procedures in physiotherapy, as well as in all aspects of interaction in healthcare.


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How to Cite

Keel, S., & Schoeb, V. (2017). Professionals’ embodied orientations towards patients in discharge-planning meetings and their impact on patient participation. Communication and Medicine, 13(1), 115–134.