Inpatient Rehabilitation Outcomes After Severe COVID-19 Infections: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2021 Dec 1;100(12):1109-1114. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001885.


Objective: The aim of the study was to describe the characteristics and functional outcomes of patients undergoing acute inpatient rehabilitation after hospitalization for COVID-19.

Design: Using a retrospective chart review, patients were identified who were admitted to inpatient rehabilitation after COVID-19. Patient information collected included sociodemographic characteristics, comorbidities, length of stay, discharge disposition, self-care, mobility, and cognitive functioning. These patients were compared with patients (controls) without COVID-19 with similar impairment codes treated at the same facility before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: There were 43 patients who were admitted to the inpatient rehabilitation hospital after COVID-19 infection and 247 controls. Patients who had COVID-19 were significantly more likely to be African American and to have been admitted to a long-term acute care hospital. They also had a longer length of rehabilitation stay. The groups did not differ by age, sex, or insurance. Functionally, although presenting with significantly worse mobility, self-care, and motor scores, the patients previously infected with COVID-19 had similar functional outcomes at time of discharge to the control group.

Conclusions: Although patients with a history of COVID-19 had worse function at time of admission to acute rehabilitation, inpatient rehabilitation significantly improved their function to comparable levels as patients who did not have COVID-19.

To claim cme credits: Complete the self-assessment activity and evaluation online at

Cme objectives: Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to: (1) Identify how characteristics of patients with COVID-19 admitted to acute rehabilitation differ from those with similar admission codes but without COVID-19; (2) Describe changes in functional measures at admission and discharge of COVID-19 patients compared with patients without COVID-19; and (3) Recognize how inpatient rehabilitation may help reduce inequities in outcomes after severe COVID-19 infection.

Level: Advanced.

Accreditation: The Association of Academic Physiatrists is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.The Association of Academic Physiatrists designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / rehabilitation*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Functional Status*
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospitals, Rehabilitation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome