In the United States, people 85 years of age or older have a growing number of strokes each year, and this age group is most at risk for disability. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) adhere closest to post-acute stroke rehabilitation guidelines and have the most desirable outcomes compared with skilled nursing facilities. As stroke is one of the leading causes of disability, knowledge of postrehabilitation outcomes is needed for this age group, although at present such information is limited.Objective
The purpose of this study was to describe functional and discharge outcomes after IRF rehabilitation in people with stroke aged 85 years or older.Design
A serial, cross-sectional design was used.Methods
Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility–Patient Assessment Instrument data were analyzed beginning in 2002 for the first 5.5 years after implementation of the prospective payment system and included 71,652 cases. Discharge function, measured using the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), and community discharge were the discharge outcome measures. Sample description used frequencies and means. Generalized estimating equations (GEEs) with post hoc testing were used to analyze the annual trends for discharge FIM and community discharge by age group (85–89, 90–94, 95–99, and ≥100 years). Risk-adjusted linear and logistic GEE models, with control for cluster, were used to analyze the association between both outcome measures and age group.Results
Over 5.5 years, mean discharge FIM scores decreased by 3.6 points, and mean achievement of community discharge decreased 5.5%. Approximately 54% of the sample achieved community discharge. Continuous and logistic GEEs revealed factors associated with discharge outcomes.Limitations
Results obtained using an observational design should not be viewed as indicating causation. The lack of control for a caregiver may have altered results.Conclusions
The very elderly people admitted to IRF stroke rehabilitation made functional gains, and most were able to return to the community.