The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe how physical therapists working in rehabilitation settings involved families in the patient's rehabilitation program and what factors facilitated or impeded this involvement. Forty physical therapists practicing in the eastern United States were individually interviewed on their involvement of families in a patient's rehabilitation. The interview data were transcribed, coded, and analyzed for main themes. Family involvement was found to be a significant aspect of a patient's rehabilitation. Factors pertaining to the family, the patient, the healthcare organization and the physical therapist were identified. Factors, such as the family's knowledge, attitudes and skills of the family, their relationship with the patient prior to the injury or disability, the availability and opportunity of family members to be involved, and their physical capabilities, all influenced the degree to which the family participated. Therapists also perceived the cognitive status of the patient as a factor which dictated the proper amount of family participation. The healthcare organization was an important factor which needed to encourage and support the family participation. With decreased lengths of stay there is less time for families to be independent in caring for their loved one. The organization of the department could be instrumental in this by providing multiple formal and informal avenues for family training, such as support groups, home visits, 'open door' policy visiting hours, and scheduling changes. Finally, the physical therapists might have been the single most significant factor in facilitating family involvement. It was important for them to establish open and honest communication and be pro-activists for their patients and their families. The findings were consistent with the existing literature base in relation to the patient and family. Additional findings present physical therapists and healthcare organizations with suggestions for improving family education.