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Age Ageing. 2004 May;33(3):246-52.

Sooner and healthier: a randomised controlled trial and interview study of an early discharge rehabilitation service for older people.

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1
Ageing & Disability Research Unit, B Floor Medical School, University Hospital Nottingham, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hospitals are under pressure from admissions of increasing numbers of older people. Older people may suffer unnecessary activity limitation after acute illnesses through lack of appropriate rehabilitation.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate an early discharge and rehabilitation service for older people.

DESIGN:

A randomised controlled trial comparing an early discharge and rehabilitation with standard hospital aftercare. Outcome measures assessed at 3 and 12 months were the Barthel Index, Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living and EuroQol (for patients) the General Health Questionnaire (for patients and carers). Use of services over 12 months was recorded. An interview study of patients and staff was conducted.

SETTING AND INTERVENTION:

The early discharge and rehabilitation service offered a home-based rehabilitation and care programme for up to 4 weeks.

PARTICIPANTS:

370 hospitalised older medical and surgical patients were included in the randomised controlled trial. Twenty patients and 11 staff were interviewed.

RESULTS:

Subjects in the early discharge rehabilitation service group used fewer days in hospital at 3 months (mean difference 9, median difference 4 days, 95% CI of median difference 2-8). At 3 months the early discharge and rehabilitation service patients had better Barthel scores (mean difference 1.2, 95% CI 0.4-1.9), Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living kitchen scores (mean difference 1.2, 95% CI 0.2-2.3), Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living domestic scores (mean difference 1.1, 95% CI 0.2-2.0) and General Health Questionnaire scores (mean difference 2.4, 95% CI 0.7-4.1). Significant Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living domestic and General Health Questionnaire benefits remained at 12 months. The early discharge and rehabilitation service carers had better General Health Questionnaire scores at 3 months (mean difference 2.0, 95% CI 0.1-3.8). The interviews suggested that the early discharge and rehabilitation service was patient-centred, set clear goals, worked as a team, and considered physical, psychological, social and environmental issues. It was found to be highly satisfactory.

CONCLUSIONS:

Some older people can be discharged from hospital sooner, with better health outcomes using a well-staffed and organised patient-centred early discharge service providing rehabilitation.

PMID:
15082429
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afh076
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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