Objective: To examine the impact of diabetes mellitus (DM) on functional outcomes after acute rehabilitation for cerebrovascular accident (CVA).
Design: A retrospective research design was used to analyze outcomes in patients with a primary diagnosis of unilateral stroke (n = 367) admitted to an urban, acute rehabilitation center in the Southeastern United States.
Results: Multivariable hierarchical regression revealed that DM did not contribute statistically significant variance to stroke acute rehabilitation prediction models. Rehabilitation admission functioning scores, rehabilitation length of stay, age, and stroke type were significant predictors of poststroke rehabilitation motor outcomes (r2 = 0.603) and cognitive outcomes (r2 = 0.712). Diabetes also had no significant impact on acute stroke rehabilitation lengths of stay or rehabilitation discharge setting.
Conclusions: Diabetes does not seem to significantly impact short-term acute rehabilitation outcomes after stroke. Persons with diabetes who suffer a stroke seem to benefit and improve during their acute rehabilitation stay at levels equivalent to peers who are not diagnosed with diabetes. Future research should examine the impact of diabetes subtypes and undiagnosed diabetes on short- and long-term outcomes.