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Keywords:

  • elderly;
  • effectiveness;
  • perspectives;
  • rehabilitation

Summary

  • The increasing demand for cost-effective and efficient health care may create a demand for more demonstrably effective hospital-based rehabilitation services, with the explicit goal of enabling patients to return home after short admissions; thus rehabilitation is centre stage.
  • This paper reports the findings from a study of the rehabilitation of elderly people in hospital; in particular it focuses on an aspect of the process of care: namely staff perceptions of rehabilitation work, with particular emphasis on the role of the nurse.
  • A conversational style of interviewing was used with 56 staff respondents from two rehabilitation wards for elderly people.
  • Findings suggest that therapists are often seen as experts, and nursing is viewed as separate from rehabilitation, and hence nurses are an under-utilized resource in this field.
  • It is suggested that there is a need to examine further the reality of multidisciplinary teamwork in rehabilitation, particularly with respect to maximizing the potential contribution of nurses, with the end goal of improving patient outcomes.