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Geriatric rehabilitation nursing: Developing a model


Pirkko Routasalo, Assistant Professor, Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland. Email:


In this paper, we describe a geriatric rehabilitation nursing model developed on the basis of the nursing and rehabilitation literature. That literature comprised some 120 articles addressing the rehabilitation of elderly patients and the work done by nurses in that process, various philosophical questions and the results of geriatric rehabilitation. One-third of these articles has been evaluated on the strength of the articles’ evidence, and these are discussed in this paper. The findings show that the main factors in geriatric rehabilitation nursing are the patient with health or functional problems and the nurse with professional values, knowledge and skills. The patient is part of a family and the nurse works as part of a multidisciplinary team. In the geriatric rehabilitation process, the patient and the nurse work in close interaction. The aims of rehabilitation depend upon the patient's commitment to the objective and upon the nurse's commitment to help the patient achieve that objective. A health orientation, goal-oriented work, nursing decision-making and a rehabilitative approach to work are all central to this effort. Work is organized in multidisciplinary teams where nurses have equal responsibilities with other professional staff. Testing and development of the model is ongoing.