Association Between Use of Rehabilitation in the Acute Care Hospital and Hospital Readmission or Mortality in Patients With Stroke

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Sep;102(9):1700-1707.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2021.02.026. Epub 2021 Apr 2.


Objective: To examine the association between the number of physical and occupational therapist visits received in the acute care hospital and the risk of hospital readmission or death.

Design: Retrospective cohort study of electronic health records and administrative claims data collected for 2.25 years (January 1, 2016-March 30, 2018).

Setting: Twelve acute care hospitals in a large health care system in western Pennsylvania.

Participants: Adults (N=8279) discharged with a primary stroke diagnosis.

Interventions: The exposure was number of physical and occupational therapist visits during the acute care stay.

Main outcome measures: Generalized linear mixed models were estimated to examine the relationship between therapy use and 30- and 7-day hospital readmission or death (outcome), controlling for patient demographic and clinical characteristics.

Results: The 30- and 7-day readmission or death rates were 16.0% and 5.7%, respectively. The number of therapist visits was inversely related to the risk of 30-day readmission or death. Relative to no therapist visits, the odds of readmission or death were 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-0.90) for individuals who received 1-2 visits, 0.59 (95% CI, 0.43-0.81) for 3-5 visits, and 0.57 (95% CI, 0.39-0.81) for >5 visits. A similar pattern was seen for the 7-day outcome, with slightly larger effect sizes. Effects were also greater in individuals with more mobility limitations on admission and for those discharged to a postacute care facility vs home.

Conclusions: There was an inverse relationship between the number of therapist visits and risk for readmission or death for patients with stroke discharged from an acute care hospital. Effects differed by time to the event (30d vs 7d), discharge location, and mobility limitations on admission.

Keywords: Health services; Patient readmission; Rehabilitation; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / mortality*