Length of Stay at Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility and Stroke Patient Outcomes


Health Promotion

Document Type


Publication Source

Rehabilitation Nursing. Volume 41, Issue 2, Pages 78-90.

Publication Date



PURPOSE: To examine the association of inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) length of stay (LOS) with stroke patient outcomes.

DESIGN: A secondary data analysis of the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation database.

METHODS: Stroke patients discharged from IRFs in the United States between 2009 and 2011 were identified and divided into mild (n = 639), moderate (n = 2,065), and severely (n = 2,077) impaired groups. Study outcomes included cognition and motor functional gains measured by the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) instrument and discharge to the community.

FINDINGS: The average LOS was 8.9, 13.9, and 22.2 days for mild, moderate, and severely impaired stroke patients, respectively. After controlling for FIM admission and other important covariates, a longer LOS was associated with a modest increase in cognition gain (β = 0.038, p = .0045) for the moderately impaired patients, and a modest increase in cognition (β = 0.13, p < .0001) and motor gains (β = 0.25, p < .0001) as well as a tendency for discharge to the community (OR = 1.01, 95% CI = 1.00-1.02) among the severely impaired patients. However, a longer LOS showed a negative association with functional gains among the mildly impaired patients as well as discharge to community for both mild and moderately impaired patients.

CONCLUSION: The association of IRF LOS and patient outcomes varied by stroke impairment severity, positively for more severely impaired patients and negatively for mildly impaired patients.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The study provides evidence for the care of stroke patients at the IRF setting.