Andrews AW, Li D, Freburger JK. Association of Rehabilitation Intensity for Stroke and Risk of Hospital Readmission. PHYS THER. 2015.
BACKGROUND: Little is known about the use of rehabilitation in the acute care setting and its impact on hospital readmissions. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine the association between the intensity of rehabilitation services received during the acute care stay for stroke and the risk of 30-day and 90-day hospital readmission. DESIGN: A retrospective cohort analysis of all acute care hospitals in Arkansas and Florida was conducted. METHODS: Patients (N=64,065) who were admitted for an incident stroke in 2009 or 2010 were included. Rehabilitation intensity was categorized as none, low, medium-low, medium-high, or high based on the sum and distribution of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy charges within each hospital. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios, controlling for demographic characteristics, illness severity, comorbidities, hospital variables, and state. RESULTS: Relative to participants who received the lowest intensity therapy, those who received higher-intensity therapy had a decreased risk of 30-day readmission. The risk was lowest for the highest-intensity group (hazard ratio=0.86; 95% confidence interval=0.79, 0.93). Individuals who received no therapy were at an increased risk of hospital readmission relative to those who received low-intensity therapy (hazard ratio=1.30; 95% confidence interval=1.22, 1.40). The findings were similar, but with smaller effects, for 90-day readmission. Furthermore, patients who received higher-intensity therapy had more comorbidities and greater illness severity relative to those who received lower-intensity therapy. LIMITATIONS: The results of the study are limited in scope and generalizability. Also, the study may not have adequately accounted for all potentially important covariates. CONCLUSIONS: Receipt of and intensity of rehabilitation therapy in the acute care of stroke is associated with a decreased risk of hospital readmission.