Functional outcomes and quality of life in patients with brain tumors: a preliminary report

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Nov;82(11):1540-6. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2001.26613.


Objectives: To determine the relationship between functional outcome and quality of life (QOL) in patients with brain tumors receiving inpatient rehabilitation, and to assess the sensitivity of 4 assessment tools in measuring changes in that population.

Design: Prospective study using longitudinal data collected from consecutively admitted patients.

Setting: Acute inpatient rehabilitation unit.

Participants: Ten patients with primary brain tumors admitted to an acute inpatient rehabilitation unit.

Interventions: Patients participated in an inpatient interdisciplinary rehabilitation program that used the following disciplines: occupational therapy, rehabilitation therapy, recreational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, rehabilitation nursing and case management.

Main outcome measures: The FIM instrument, Disability Rating Scale (DRS), Karnofsky Performance Status Scale (KPS), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Brain (FACT-BR).

Results: Improvement in total functional outcome was indicated by all 3 functional measures (FIM: F = 46.84, p < .05; DRS: F = 19.25, p < .05; KPS: F = 10.11, p < .05). Significant improvements were found between admission and discharge scores for the FIM and DRS. The KPS revealed significant improvement between admission and 3-month follow-up scores. All admission and discharge functional scales (FIM, DRS, KPS) correlated significantly with each other. No significant change was noted in the FACT-BR between admission and discharge scores, but FACT-BR scores did improve at 1- and 3-months postdischarge relative to admission. The FIM, KPS, and DRS did not show significant correlation with the FACT-BR. Ninety percent of patients were initially discharged to a home environment.

Conclusion: Although patients make functional gains during and after inpatient rehabilitation, gains in QOL are not significant until 1 month postdischarge. QOL does not appear to correlate well with functional outcomes. Further, the KPS is less sensitive than the FIM and DRS in detecting change in functional status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Treatment Outcome