Geriatric rehabilitation on an acute-care medical unit



This study examined a geriatric rehabilitation pilot project on an acute-care medical unit. Over a 6-week period, using a 35-item geriatric rating scale and a mental assessment tool, changes in behaviours of 23 patients admitted to the geriatric rehabilitation module were compared to changes in behaviours of 10 elderly patients on a regular medical unit. The patients' demographic characteristics, their nursing and medical diagnoses, and discharge patterns were reviewed. Significant changes in behaviours of patients on the rehabilitation model included: increased ability to care for themselves, to maintain balance, and to communicate with others; decreased restlessness at night; decreased confusion; decreased incidence of incontinence; and improved social skills. The paper describes the geriatric rehabilitation programme and discusses implications for nursing of elderly patients in acute-care hospitals.