Can Early Rehabilitation on the General Ward After an Intensive Care Unit Stay Reduce Hospital Length of Stay in Survivors of Critical Illness?: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to evaluate if an early rehabilitation program for survivors of critical illness improves functional recovery, reduces length of stay, and reduces hospital costs.

Design

This was a prospective randomized controlled trial. Fifty-three consecutive survivors of critical illness were included in the study. After discharge from the intensive care unit, the intervention group received an early rehabilitation program, and the standard-care group received physical therapy as ordered by the primary care team. Length of stay at the general ward after transfer from the intensive care unit was recorded. In addition, Early Rehabilitation Barthel Index, visual analog scale for pain, 3-minute walk test, Beck Depression Inventory, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Medical Research Council scale were used.

Results

In the per-protocol analysis, length of stay at the general ward was a median 14 days (interquartile range [IQR], 12–20 days) in the early rehabilitation and 21 days [IQR, 13–34 days) in the standard-care group. This significant result could not be confirmed by the intention-to-treat analysis (16 days [IQR, 13–23 days] vs. 21 days [IQR, 13–34 days]). Secondary outcomes were similar between the groups. Hospital costs were lower in the intervention group. No adverse effects were detected.

Conclusions

An early rehabilitation program in survivors of critical illness led to an earlier discharge from the hospital, improved functional recovery, and was also cost-effective and safe.

To Claim CME Credits

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CME Objectives

Upon completion of this article, the reader should be able to (1) delineate the benefits of early rehabilitation on a general medicine ward after an intensive care unit stay, (2) recognize the safety of appropriately implemented early rehabilitation, and (3) incorporate early rehabilitation on the general medical ward as applicable.

Level

Advanced

Accreditation

The Association of Academic Physiatrists is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Accreditation

The Association of Academic Physiatrists designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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