Date of Award

Fall 1987

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Patient classification instruments quantify the demand for nursing resources. A useful tool can provide information to nursing administration to aid in responsible decision making for the allocation of these resources. With the emphasis today on cost containment and productivity, there is an increasing need for valid and reliable tools to assist in the process of identifying individual patient acuity. Rehabilitation nursing is concerned with the functional loss of disabled persons. The ultimate goal in rehabilitation is community reintegration for these individuals. The professional nurse, in coordinating the rehabilitation program, focuses on preventing complications, restoring optimal function, and assisting disabled individuals and their families to adapt to an altered life style. A patient classification system for rehabilitation must reflect the uniqueness of the specialty. Elements of the tool must reflect the functional status of the patient and the adaptive skills that the patient and family have acquired in order to achieve quality of life. Select patient classification instruments in the literature and systems used in five Milwaukee area hospital units have been reviewed. In developing a system of patient classification for rehabilitation, the use of functional assessment instruments is emphasized as a basis for relating nursing acuity to the functional status of the disabled.