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Patients cope at home after shorter rehabilitation stays but are more likely to die

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 14 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:878
  1. Scott Gottlieb
  1. New York

The time spent by US patients in rehabilitation facilities after illnesses such as stroke or injury is decreasing, but the shorter stays have not affected their function on discharge, a study has found.

Changes in reimbursement have reduced the length of stay for patients receiving inpatient medical rehabilitation. The news from the study, which examined outcomes that included the patients' functional status, whether they were living at home at follow up, and mortality, was not all good, however. The study found that the death rate among patients undergoing inpatient rehabilitation increased by about 4% between 1994 and 2001 (JAMA 2004; 292:1687-95).

In the study Dr Kenneth Ottenbacher of the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, …

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