Patient-reported functional outcomes 30 days after hospitalization for COVID-19

PM R. 2022 Feb;14(2):173-182. doi: 10.1002/pmrj.12716. Epub 2021 Nov 3.


Background: Many coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) survivors experience persistent symptoms, such as fatigue, dyspnea, and musculoskeletal pain. However, less is known about the impact of COVID-19 on longer term functional outcomes.

Objective: To evaluate patient-reported activity of daily living (ADL) function and fatigue symptoms 30 days after hospitalization for COVID-19.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Tertiary care university hospital.

Participants: Adults 18 years or older hospitalized for COVID-19 and survived to 30 days after discharge.

Methods: A standardized telephone questionnaire was administered 30 days after hospital discharge.

Main outcome measures: Ability to perform basic and instrumental ADLs and fatigue symptoms severity (Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System [PROMIS] Fatigue Short Form 7a) were assessed by self-report.

Results: Participants (n = 55) were 22-95 years old. Compared to pre-COVID hospitalization, 52% developed new difficulty and 6% new dependence with performing basic ADLs (bADLs), 48% developed new difficulty and 11% new dependence with instrumental ADLs (iADLs), and 69% experienced a clinically significant worsening in their fatigue symptom severity. The average fatigue symptom severity T-score before hospitalization was 44.2 ± 7.4 and after hospitalization was 54.5 ± 9.8. In exploratory multivariate analyses, each additional COVID symptom at presentation was associated with a predicted increase of 1.43 units (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45-2.42) in the 30-day fatigue symptom severity T-score, each additional day of hospitalization was associated with an 1.2 times increased odds of worsening fatigue (95% CI, 0.98-1.5; p = .08), and each unit increase in baseline body mass index was associated with 0.8 times decreased odds of new bADL or iADL dependence at 30 days (95% CI, 0.65-0.99).

Conclusions: New functional impairments are common at 30 days after discharge among survivors of hospitalization for COVID-19. Early rehabilitation, advance care planning, and referrals to appropriate therapies should be considered in postacute COVID-19 care to maximize patients' functional outcomes. However, ongoing research is still needed regarding management of these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Young Adult