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Limb-Loss Patients Treated in Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospitals Have Better Health Outcomes, Study Shows

A new study 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.

“As this study shows, the timely, intensive and coordinated services provided in a rehabilitation hospital or unit help those with limb loss return to their homes and communities faster than skilled nursing facilities,” said Susan Stout, interim president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition. “Policy makers 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.”

Assessment of Patient Outcomes of Rehabilitative Care Provided in Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities and After Discharge is 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.

Key Findings

Survivors of limb loss treated in inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units compared to those treated in skilled nursing facilities had the following outcomes, on average:

    • Returned home from their initial rehabilitation hospital stay 16 days earlier.
    • Remained home nearly three months longer.
    • Stayed alive more than two-and-a-half months longer.
    • Had a 12 percent lower mortality rate.
    • Had 16 percent fewer emergency room visits per year.
    • Had 43 percent fewer hospital readmissions per year.
  • “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 Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland.

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