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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50260. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050260. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Validity and reliability of a tool for determining appropriateness of days of stay: an observational study in the orthopedic intensive rehabilitation facilities in Italy.

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of Catanzaro Magna Græcia, Catanzaro, Italy.



To test the validity and reliability of a tool specifically developed for the evaluation of appropriateness in rehabilitation facilities and to assess the prevalence of appropriateness of the days of stay.


The tool underwent a process of cross-cultural translation, content validity, and test-retest validity. Two hospital-based rehabilitation wards providing intensive rehabilitation care located in the Region of Calabria, Southern Italy, were randomly selected. A review of medical records on a random sample of patients aged 18 or more was performed.


The process of validation resulted in modifying some of the criteria used for the evaluation of appropriateness. Test-retest reliability showed that the agreement and the k statistic for the assessment of the appropriateness of days of stay were 93.4% and 0.82, respectively. A total of 371 patient days was reviewed, and 22.9% of the days of stay in the sample were judged to be inappropriate. The most frequently selected appropriateness criterion was the evaluation of patients by rehabilitation professionals for at least 3 hours on the index day (40.8%); moreover, the most frequent primary reason accounting for the inappropriate days of stay was social and/or family environment issues (34.1%).


The findings showed that the tool used is reliable and have adequate validity to measure the extent of appropriateness of days of stay in rehabilitation facilities and that the prevalence of inappropriateness is contained in the investigated settings. Further research is needed to expand appropriateness evaluation to other rehabilitation settings, and to investigate more thoroughly internal and external causes of inappropriate use of rehabilitation services.

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