Intermediate care for older people: Using action research to develop reflective nursing practice in a rehabilitation setting

Gill Walker (University of Glamorgan)
Fiona Poland (University of East Anglia)

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

ISSN: 1471-7794

Publication date: 1 December 2000


The importance of developing intermediate care options for older people is gaining increasing prominence in the UK with the promotion of new health and social care partnerships. Consequent changes in practice and values are demanded from staff. An action research approach provides a process of generating information linked to dialogues which facilitate such changes. This article draws on a case study of nursing staff working with older people in a newly‐defined rehabilitation setting in a Welsh community hospital. The action research cycle reported, focused on a series of collaborative interventions aimed at bringing about such changes in thinking and practice from a ‘doing for’ to an ‘enabling’ rehabilitative style of nursing. Three questionnaires and a round of group interviews were successively undertaken with a group of 49 staff, with planning and discussion sessions taking place between each data collection round. The process highlighted differing assumptions between different grades of nursing staff and between nurses and therapists about the nature of the rehabilitative process and how far it could be integrated with nursing care. The article discusses how the action research process supported a shared change in perspective that progress needed to be made to work in an integrated rehabilitative way. Participative approaches, such as action research, should be drawn on if the positive and cost‐effective benefits of rehabilitation for older people are to be more actively realised.



Walker, G. and Poland, F. (2000), "Intermediate care for older people: Using action research to develop reflective nursing practice in a rehabilitation setting", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 31-43.

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