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.