PURPOSE: This study utilized the Environment dimension of the ICF, to explore needs of outpatients and their family members in the context of system and professional needs in an outpatient rehabilitation unit. METHOD: A two-phase qualitative exploration comprised structured workshops with outpatient rehabilitation unit professional staff and semi-structured interviews on two occasions with 18 outpatients and their significant others. Data was thematically analysed and categorized according to ICF Environment dimensions. RESULTS: The study found that the ICF Environment dimension was a worthwhile area for research, beneficial for outpatient professionals, relevant to patient and family members' concerns, and useful for conceptualizing intervention. The study found that key foci for outpatient assistance at the Environment level should include: psychosocial support and relationships; information transfer and communication in transition to outpatient rehabilitation; and subsequent connection with community, vocational and support services. CONCLUSION: Research using the ICF Environment dimension provides a practical means of connecting some of the features of a community-oriented approach with hospital or centre-based outpatient rehabilitation.