This study discusses rehabilitation in a phenomenological light. Desiring to pursue the patient perspective, we conducted qualitative interviews with six elderly patients who were rehabilitated in their own homes following total hip replacement. The interviews were based on Max van Manen’s phenomenological methodology with its focus on the life-world as described through patients’ experiences of time, space, body, and interpersonal relations.

The united theme being ‘remaining in the current of life’, the discussion leads us to insist on a nursing perspective integrating aspects such as the maintenance of body functions, dignity and identity, and the dialectics of fragility and strength in the rehabilitation of the elderly. Rather than focusing exclusively on participation and function-related activity, nursing work should integrate life phenomena in their own rights. This approach to rehabilitation represents a discussion of the prevalent ideas of self care.