Transdisciplinary Approach: An Atypical Strategy for Improving Outcomes in Rehabilitative and Long-Term Acute Care Settings


  • Carolyn Reilly MN RN CCRN

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    • Carolyn Reilly is the director of quality and risk management at Tahoe Pacific Hospital in Sparks, NV, and a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her research interests include transdisciplinary care, outcome management, and acuity measurement with the chronically ill population.

2385 E. Prater Way, Suite 101, Sparks, NV 89434, email


In the rehabilitation and long-term acute care settings, an atypical strategy has emerged in the past few years whereby the central focus is on improving patient care through a team approach in which responsibilities are shared and the normal boundaries of the healthcare professions blurred. This article provides a conceptual analysis of this unique, transdisciplinary approach to care delivery. Differentiation between interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary techniques is provided through case scenarios. Defining attributes, necessary antecedents, and the many possible positive outcomes from the transdisciplinary approach to practice is discussed. This concept analysis defines for the rehabilitation or long-term acute care nurse a method that can be used to redesign care delivery, to promote improved patient outcomes, and to achieve a cohesive team environment.