Study: Better long-term outcomes found for amputee treated in inpatient rehab hospitals

Amputees treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units had better long-term clinical outcomes compared with amputees treated in nursing homes, according to recent study results.

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, researchers studied a national sample of Medicare fee-for-service claims data during a 2-year period after injury or illness. The study was commissioned by the ARA Research Institute, an affiliate of the American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association.

According to the study results, amputees treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals or unit returned home from their initial rehabilitation hospital stay 16 days earlier vs. amputees treated in a skilled nursing facility. Patients treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals also remained home 3 months and lived 2.5 months longer than patients in a skilled nursing facility. Researchers found a 12% lower mortality rate, 16% fewer emergency room visits per year and 43% fewer hospital readmissions per year among amputees treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals.

“As this study shows, the timely, intensive and coordinated services provided in a rehabilitation hospital or unit help those with limb los return to their homes and communities faster than skilled nursing facilities,” Susan Stout, interim president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition, stated in a press release. “Policymakers and regulators should consider this study as they make future decisions that could impact where those with limb loss receive care. Decisions should not be made based on short-term cost, but on where patients can most quickly improve their health and regain the functional skills they need to return home, to work, school or community activities.”

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