The aims of this study were: (1) to identify reliable prognostic factors for detecting subgroups of no, low and high response in consecutive patients admitted for rehabilitation of first stroke sequelae, and (2) to quantify the relative risk of poor or excellent prognosis on both Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and mobility for each significant variable. We prospectively studied 440 of 475 patients. From a group of 32 independent variables, those significantly associated with no, low and high effectiveness on both ADL and mobility were selected by means of multiple regression; then, the relative risk was calculated for each variable that significantly entered the multiple regressions. Patients with severe impairment or with global aphasia showed a relative risk of no response 4-6 times higher than that of other patients. An interval before rehabilitation longer than 2 months was associated with an increasing risk of no response. Elderly patients had a significantly higher relative risk of low response both on ADL and mobility. The presence of hemineglect and depression was associated with an increasing risk of low response on ADL but not on mobility. The absence of hemineglect and a short interval are prerequisites for an excellent functional prognosis on both ADL and mobility. A minor impairment, employed status, the absence of global aphasia and age < or = 65 years increased the risk of high response. At the beginning of treatment, clear prognostic factors for the detection of subgroups with poor or excellent rehabilitation prognosis can be identified.