Inpatient Rehab Provides Better Outcome, Study Finds

The largest study of its kind to date finds that patients who are treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals go home faster, stay home longer and live longer than those who are treated at a nursing home, or skilled nursing facility. “This is confirmation of the quality data and outcomes that we have been producing at Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital,” shares Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital CEO Derrick Jones. “This matches with our focus on getting people discharged and back to their homes and previous quality of life.”

CEO of the Brain Injury Association of America, Susan H. Connors, remarked in a recent interview, “This confirms what we in the patient community have known – timely, intensive and coordinated programs provided in a rehabilitation hospital or unit help return patients to their homes and communities faster than skilled nursing facilities.” Rehabilitation hospitals, Susan adds, “are key to reducing costly hospital readmissions for those with a wide range of disabling conditions, including people with brain injuries and strokes.”

The study found that during a two-year period, when clinically compared to skilled nursing patients, inpatient rehab patients on average:

Returned home from initial hospitalization two weeks sooner

Stayed home two months longer

Live two months longer

The difference mostly lies in intensity and time of therapy. “The skilled units are regulated, just like we are,” explains Derrick. “However, the standards are held at a higher level by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), especially in regards to the amount of therapy for each patient per day.” Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital provides at minimum 3 hours of intensive therapy per patient per day – at least 15 hours per week.

Derrick says it is paying off for Lovelace patients. In 2013, 77 percent of Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital inpatients were discharged to the community, following an average of 13.5 days in the hospital. “I think a lot of that is driven by the closer relationships with the physicians,” Derrick adds. “Additionally, patients have access to other specialty services, consultation, specialty case management services. All of that has made a difference in our outcomes for our patients.” 

From traumatic brain injury to stroke and other debilitating conditions, Derrick says the dedicated multidisciplinary team of physicians, therapists, specialists and nursing staff at Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital work under the same premise with each patient. “We take the attitude and approach that everyone deserves a shot of getting back to their prior level of function,” he says. “We take on the traumatic situations. We have a hope and a goal to get them back to where they were. Our staff has a true level of satisfaction in doing that. That’s our goal.”

For those concerned by the cost of inpatient rehabilitation, Derrick says, “It is important for people to understand they have a choice. This is a benefit that has been provided to them by Medicare and insurance companies and they need to demand that level of service.”

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