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Cover of Secondary analysis and literature review of community rehabilitation and intermediate care: an information resource

Secondary analysis and literature review of community rehabilitation and intermediate care: an information resource

Health Services and Delivery Research, No. 3.1

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Southampton (UK): NIHR Journals Library; .


The aim of the study was (1) to identify those patients most likely to benefit from intermediate care (IC), (2) to examine the effectiveness of different models of IC, (3) to explore the differences between IC service configurations and how they have changed over time and (4) to use the findings above to develop accessible evidence to guide service commissioning and monitoring. It was found that patients requiring rehabilitation are most likely to improve; provision of IC, costs and outcomes are highly variable; more recent patients have more complex needs; a high percentage of referred patients do not require the service; and interdisciplinary teams may be related to better outcomes.


Background and design:

This research was based on a reanalysis of a merged data set from two intermediate care (IC) projects in order to identify patient characteristics associated with outcomes [Nancarrow SA, Enderby PM, Moran AM, Dixon S, Parker SG, Bradburn MJ, et al. The Relationship Between Workforce Flexibility and the Costs and Outcomes of Older Peoples’ Services (COOP). Southampton: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Service Delivery and Organisation (SDO); 2010 and Nancarrow SA, Enderby PM, Ariss SM, Smith T, Booth A, Campbell MJ, et al. The Impact of Enhancing the Effectiveness of Interdisciplinary Working (EEICC). Southampton: NIHR SDO; 2012]. Additionally, the impact of different team and staffing structures on patient outcomes and service costs was examined, when possible given the data sets, to enable identification of the most cost-effective service configurations and change over time with service provision. This secondary analysis was placed within updated literature reviews focused on the separate questions.

Research objectives:

(1) To identify those patients most likely to benefit from IC and those who would be best placed to receive care elsewhere; (2) to examine the effectiveness of different models of IC; (3) to explore the differences between IC service configurations and how they have changed over time; and (4) to use the findings above to develop accessible evidence to guide service commissioning and monitoring.


Community-based services for older people are described in many different ways, among which are IC services and community rehabilitation. For the purposes of this report we call the services IC services and include all community-based provision for supporting older people who would otherwise be admitted to hospital or who would require increased length of stay in hospital (e.g. hospital at home schemes, post-acute care, step-up and step-down services).


The combined data set contained data on 8070 patient admissions from 32 IC teams across England and included details of the service context, costs, staffing/skill mix (800 staff), patient health status and outcomes.


The interventions associated with the study cover the range of services and therapies available in IC settings. These are provided by a wide range of professionals and care staff, including nursing, allied health and social care.

Outcome measures:

(1) Service data – each team provided information relating to the size, nature, staffing and resourcing of the services. Data were collected on a service pro forma. (2) Team data – all staff members of the teams participating in both studies provided individual information using the Workforce Dynamics Questionnaire. (3) Patient data – patient data were collected on admission and discharge using a client record pack. The client record pack recorded a range of data utilising a number of validated tools, such as demographic data, level of care (LoC) data, therapy outcome measure (TOM) scale, European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D) questionnaire and patient satisfaction survey.


(1) The provision of IC across England is highly variable with different referral routes, team structures, skill mix and cost-effectiveness; (2) in more recent years, patients referred to IC have more complex needs associated with more severe impairments; (3) patients most likely to improve were those requiring rehabilitation as determined by levels 3, 4 and 5 on the LoC (> 40% for impairment, activity and participation, and > 30% for well-being as determined on the TOM scale); (4) half of all patients with outcome data improved on at least one of the domains of the TOM scale; (5) for every 10-year increase in age there was a 6% decrease in the odds of returning home. The chance of remaining or returning home was greater for females than males; (6) a high percentage of patients referred to IC do not require the service; and (7) teams including clinical support staff and domiciliary staff were associated with a small relative improvement in TOM impairment scores when compared with other teams.


This study provides additional evidence that interdisciplinary teamworking in IC may be associated with better outcomes for patients, but care should be taken with overinterpretation. The measures that were used within the studies were found to be reliable, valid and practical and could be used for benchmarking. This study highlights the need for funding high-quality studies that attempt to examine what specific team-level factors are associated with better outcomes for patients. It is therefore important that studies in the future attempt empirically to examine what process-level team variables are associated with these outcomes.


The NIHR Health Services and Delivery Research programme.


Article history

The research reported in this issue of the journal was funded by the HS&DR programme or one of its proceeding programmes as project number 10/1011/51. The contractual start date was in January 2011. The final report began editorial review in November 2012 and was accepted for publication in June 2013. The authors have been wholly responsible for all data collection, analysis and interpretation, and for writing up their work. The HS&DR editors and production house have tried to ensure the accuracy of the authors’ report and would like to thank the reviewers for their constructive comments on the final report document. However, they do not accept liability for damages or losses arising from material published in this report.

Declared competing interests of authors

Stuart Parker declares National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) grants for Health Services and Delivery Research 12/5003/02 and was Deputy Director for the NIHR South Yorkshire Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care.

Copyright © Queen’s Printer and Controller of HMSO 2015. This work was produced by Ariss et al. under the terms of a commissioning contract issued by the Secretary of State for Health. This issue may be freely reproduced for the purposes of private research and study and extracts (or indeed, the full report) may be included in professional journals provided that suitable acknowledgement is made and the reproduction is not associated with any form of advertising. Applications for commercial reproduction should be addressed to: NIHR Journals Library, National Institute for Health Research, Evaluation, Trials and Studies Coordinating Centre, Alpha House, University of Southampton Science Park, Southampton SO16 7NS, UK.

Included under terms of UK Non-commercial Government License.

Bookshelf ID: NBK269522PMID: 25642549DOI: 10.3310/hsdr03010


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