Provision of rehabilitation nursing in long-term care facilities


  • Pia Vähäkangas MSc,

  • Anja Noro PhD,

  • Magnus Björkgren PhD

Pia Vähäkangas,
Chydenius Institute,
Jyväskylä University,


Aim.  This paper reports an investigation into rehabilitation nursing provided in long-term care settings in Finland, focusing on the amount of time spent with residents, types of rehabilitation nursing provided and resident characteristics associated with rehabilitation nursing.

Background.  In long-term care, nurses have important roles as members of multidisciplinary care teams in the provision of rehabilitation care. Evidence suggests that rehabilitation nursing has a positive impact on maintaining residents’ functional performance. However, there is little information on the patterns and scope of rehabilitation nursing in long-term care facilities.

Methods.  A quantitative, retrospective and cross-sectional study was designed with the data collected between July and December 2002. Rehabilitation nursing was analysed using the Resident Assessment Instrument used in Finland (n = 5312). The frequency and focus of rehabilitation nursing were presented by mean scores and 95% confidence intervals. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were built to describe the factors associated with rehabilitation nursing. Odds ratios and confidence intervals were derived from these models.

Results.  About 64% of residents received some rehabilitation nursing. Residents assessed as having rehabilitation potential received statistically significantly more rehabilitation nursing than others, such as skills practice in transfer, walking and dressing. Resident factors associated with rehabilitation nursing were cognition, activities of daily living, urinary incontinence, instability of health condition, falls, depression and greater social engagement.

Conclusion.  Specific resident characteristics and nurses’ views of rehabilitation potential determine the provision of rehabilitation nursing. This information could be useful in both targeting and planning rehabilitation nursing in long-term care.