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Rehabilitation Nurses - Helping Patients Cope With Disabilities
Rehabilitation nurses are specialized medical professionals who provide nursing care to patients who suffer from long-term chronic illnesses or disabilities. Rehab nurses work in clinics and hospitals, in dedicated rehab centers and in the community.
They work closely with the patient and the patient's family to provide the right treatment plans and support and to maintain the patient's quality of life. In this article we explore the main responsibilities of a rehab nurse and how they can assist and care for patients and improve their quality of life. We'll cover:
- Helping patients to deal with changes as a result of their illness or disability
- Creating a caring environment
- Working with doctors, physicians and other medical professionals
- Developing and providing a treatment plan
- Educating patients and families on what to expect
- Helping patients preserve their dignity and independence
- Developing an understanding and rapport with the patient and their family
- Working with a patient's family to help them adapt
Helping patients to deal with changes as a result of their illness or disability
Because illness and disability can drastically change a person's lifestyle, rehab nurses assist patients by helping them to deal with those changes.
This means understanding how the changes will impact on a patient's day-to-day activities and longer-term plans. A patient's needs can then be considered by creating the right environment.
Creating a caring environment
Rehab nurses help to provide an environment that supports their patients, both with treatment and with their longer-term living arrangements.
The main focus of this environment is to assist a patient in managing their condition and maintaining their quality of life. This could involve making changes to their home, creating new routines and schedules or advising them on the best way to approach common tasks.
Working with doctors, physicians and other medical professionals
Rehab nurses are the main contacts and caregivers for a patient and their family. This means that they often work as a liaison between the patient and the doctors.
They can make sure that a patient's needs are properly explained and covered in the treatment plan, share any concerns with the physicians and act as an advocate for the patient.
Developing and providing a treatment plan
Because the needs of each patient vary so much, it's important that treatment plans are developed for each individual case.
Rehab nurses work with physicians to create and deliver these plans. They consult with patients to find out the specific areas that they need assistance with and ensure that these are dealt with through the treatment plan.
Educating patients and families on what to expect
The long-term impact of an illness or disability shouldn't be underestimated. Rehab nurses are responsible for educating patients and their families. They can help plan for a patient's medical and nursing needs in the short, medium and long-term future.
Helping patients preserve their dignity and independence
It's vital that patients feel both cared for and that they are able to lead as normal a life as possible.
Because of this, rehab nurses will often dedicate considerable time to helping their patients continue to live a fulfilled life, preserving their dignity, mobility and independence whilst making things as easy as possible for them.
Developing an understanding and rapport with the patient and their family
Good communications are essential to helping people get the support that they need. A good rehab nurse provides the right balance of professionalism, empathy and understanding to make sure that the patient and their family get the right types of care.
Working with a patient's family to help them adapt
The impact of a disability or long-term illness isn't just limited to the patient; their family will often have to make significant changes as well.
A rehab nurse can work with the family, advising them on what to expect, how to care for the patient and assist them in making changes to make things easier.
What to expect from rehabilitation
Have you had experience with rehabilitation nurses?
A good rehabilitation nurse can make a profound difference to the care of a patient and help to substantially improve their quality of life.
Whether it's through a treatment plan, helping a patient and their family adapt or assisting with other areas, the benefits of having a good rehabilitation nurse are very significant.