Time to inpatient rehabilitation hospital admission and functional outcomes of stroke patients

PM R. 2011 Apr;3(4):296-304; quiz 304. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.12.018.


Objective: To study the association of time to inpatient rehabilitation hospital (IRH) admission and functional outcomes of patients who have had a stroke.

Design: A retrospective cohort study.

Setting: A regional IRH.

Participants: Moderately (n = 614) and severely (n = 1294) impaired patients who had a stroke who were admitted to the facility between 2002 and 2006.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Change in total, motor, and cognitive Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scores between IRH admission and discharge.

Results: After controlling for patient demographics and initial medical conditions and functional status, shorter periods from stroke onset to IRH admission were significantly associated with greater functional gains for these patients during IRH hospitalization. Moderately impaired patients achieved a greater total FIM gain when admitted to an IRH within 21 days of stroke. Severely impaired patients showed a gradient relationship between time to IRH admission and total FIM gain, with significantly different functional gain if admitted to an IRH within 30 and 60 days after stroke diagnosis. Results of multiple regression analysis also showed that age, race/ethnicity, side of stroke, history of a previous stroke, functional measures at IRH admission, IRH length of stay, and selected medications were associated with total, motor, and cognitive FIM score changes. In addition, certain factors such as older age, diagnosis of a hemorrhagic stroke or a previous history of stroke, and initial functional status were associated with longer periods between diagnosis and admission to an IRH after the stroke occurred.

Conclusions: Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that earlier transfer to an IRH may lead to better functional improvement after stroke. However, certain factors such as age, race/ethnicity, initial medical conditions and functional status, and length of stay at an IRH contributed to functional gain. Factors affecting the time to IRH admission also were addressed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Transfer
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Rehabilitation Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome