Impact of transfer delays to rehabilitation in patients with severe trauma

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Feb;85(2):184-91. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2003.06.009.


Objective: To measure the effect on rehabilitation outcomes of administrative delays in transferring patients from a level I trauma center to inpatient rehabilitation.

Design: Retrospective cohort study.

Settings: Level I trauma center and an inpatient rehabilitation center in Quebec, Canada.

Participants: A total of 289 patients with severe trauma admitted to inpatient rehabilitation from a level I trauma center between 1994 and 1999.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Length of stay (LOS) in rehabilitation, motor and cognitive function at discharge from rehabilitation, interruptions in rehabilitation, and disposition at discharge.

Results: Shorter administrative delays were associated with shorter rehabilitation LOS (P<.01) improved cognitive function (P=.02) and had a negative but statistically nonsignificant association with motor function at discharge. No effect was observed for rehabilitation interruptions or dispositions at discharge.

Conclusions: Transferring trauma patients more quickly to inpatient rehabilitation can affect rehabilitation outcomes positively. It can also lead to an economy of resource use in both acute and rehabilitation settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Cohort Studies
  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Patient Transfer / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quebec
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation*