Early Unplanned Transfers from Inpatient Rehabilitation

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Abstract

Objective:

To identify characteristics of patients who transfer off inpatient rehabilitation to a surgical or medical unit before completion of their rehabilitation program.

Design:

A retrospective 9-yr chart review of patients transferred off the rehabilitation unit at a regional level 1 trauma center due to medical complications.

Results:

Of 3072 patient admissions, 250 (8%) were transferred to an acute medical or surgical unit, and 55 (22%) of those transfers were within 3 days. Of the 250 patients, 33% had traumatic brain injury, 23% had spinal cord injury, 24% had stroke, 2% had amputations, 18% were in other diagnostic groups, and 23% were >64 yrs of age. When patients transferred early, only 47% were ultimately discharged to home, compared with approximately 72% of all discharges. The most common reasons for early transfer in these patients were infection (22%) and pulmonary complications (14%). Risk factors for early discharge included age of >64 yrs, spinal cord injury, or amputation.

Conclusion:

Patients admitted to the inpatient rehabilitation unit who have spinal cord injuries, amputations, or are >64 yrs old may have more medical/surgical complications. More detailed study of this patient population may help reduce the number of early transfers off the inpatient rehabilitation unit.

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