A new study released at a Congressional briefing on July 10, hosted by Senators Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) shows that people with limb loss who were treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units had better long-term clinical outcomes than those treated in nursing homes.
The study is said to be the most comprehensive national analysis to date examining the long-term outcomes of clinically similar patient populations treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals/units versus nursing homes. The study, “Assessment of Patient Outcomes of Rehabilitative Care Provided in Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities and After Discharge,” conducted by Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, Vienna, Virginia, studied a national sample of Medicare fee-for-service claims data over a two-year period after injury or illness to compare the clinical outcomes and Medicare payments for patients who received rehabilitation in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital to clinically similar patients in nursing homes. The study’s key findings show the following:
- Survivors of limb loss treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units compared to those patients treated in skilled nursing facility, on average, returned home from their initial rehabilitation hospital stay 16 days earlier, remained home nearly three months longer, and stayed alive more than two-and-a-half months longer.
- Individuals with limb loss treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units also showed a 12 percent lower mortality rate than skilled nursing facility patients, 16 percent fewer emergency room visits per year than skilled nursing facility patients, and 43 percent fewer hospital readmissions per year than skilled nursing facility patients.
“When considering rehabilitation programs, limb-loss patients should carefully consider the results of this study to determine which setting is best for them,” said Terrence P. Sheehan, MD, medical director for the Amputee Coalition and at Adventist Rehab Hospital of Maryland, Rockville. “It is also important to make policy decisions based upon factual data about the value of the service to the consumer and to the public. This research study is important for policymakers to understand, because it clearly articulates the value of the care provided in rehabilitation hospitals for people with limb loss as well as those with other conditions. And every patient should be ensured access to the most appropriate setting that will provide them with the best possible outcome.”