Length of stay and medical stability for spinal cord-injured patients on admission to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital: a comparison between a model SCI trauma center and non-SCI trauma center

Spinal Cord. 2011 Mar;49(3):411-5. doi: 10.1038/sc.2010.132. Epub 2010 Oct 5.


Study design: Retrospective database review.

Objective: To compare lengths of stay (LOS), pressure ulcers and readmissions to the acute care hospital of patients admitted to the inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) from a model spinal cord injury (SCI) trauma center or from a non-SCI acute hospital.

Background: Only sparse data exist comparing the status of patients admitted to IRF from a model SCI trauma center or from a non-SCI acute hospital.

Methods: Acute care, IRF and total LOS were compared between patients transferred to IRF from the SCI center (n=78) and from non-SCI centers (n=131). The percentages of pressure ulcers on admission to IRF and transfer back to acute care were also compared.

Results: Patients admitted to IRF from the SCI trauma center (SCI TC) had significantly shorter (P=0.01) acute care LOS and total LOS compared with patients admitted from non-SCI TCs. By neurological category, acute-care LOS was less for all groups admitted from the SCI center, but statistically significant only for tetraplegia. There was no significant difference in the incidence of readmissions to acute care from IRF. More patients from non-SCI centers (34%) than SCI centers (12%) had pressure ulcers (P<0.001).

Conclusion: Acute care in organized SCI TCs before transfer to IRF can significantly lower acute-care LOS or total LOS and incidence of pressure ulcers compared with non-SCI TCs. Patients admitted to IRF from SCI TCs are no more likely to be sent back to an acute hospital than those from non-SCI TCs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hospitals / trends*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Length of Stay / trends
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / methods
  • Patient Admission / trends
  • Patient Readmission / trends
  • Philadelphia / epidemiology
  • Rehabilitation Centers / trends*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Trauma Centers / trends*