Patients with major disabilities and handicaps will sometimes be treated as acute patients. Obviously their legal position, as patients, will be the same as other acute services’ patients during this period. Special laws only become relevant during the rehabilitation phase. These laws are designed to reduce the handicapping effect of disabilities and to ensure the coordination of services. Nurses and the health service have an important role in these patients’ longterm rehabilitation. However, the principal role under the special legislation, belongs to local authorities. Therefore, the following description will aim to outline, for nurses, what the other agencies could and should be doing so that they may press those agencies. It will not be as detailed as earlier chapters as the law does not affect nurses directly.
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