Rehabilitation nurses help individuals affected by chronic illness or physical disability to achieve their greatest potential, adapt to their disabilities and work toward productive, independent lives. They take a holistic approach to meeting patients' medical, vocational, educational, environmental, and spiritual needs.
Rehabilitation nurses begin to work with individuals and their families soon after the onset of a disabling injury or chronic illness. They continue to provide support in the form of patient and family education and empower these individuals when they go home or return to work or school. The rehabilitation nurse often teaches patients and their caregivers how to access systems and resources.
Rehabilitation nurses base their practice on rehabilitative and restorative principles by:
- Managing complex medical issues
- Collaborating with the rehabilitation team
- Providing ongoing patient/caregiver education
- Setting goals for maximal independence
- Establishing plans of care to maintain optimal wellness