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Fam Med. 1997 Jun;29(6):400-5.

The effect of cognitive status on outcomes following rehabilitation.

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School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA.



Impaired cognition is a determinant of poor recovery following a hip fracture. Because of the risk of poorer outcomes, individuals with impaired cognitive function may be refused admission into a rehabilitation program. This study considered the impact of cognitive status on functional ability over time for older adults who participate in a rehabilitation program.


We studied a convenience sample of 200 consecutive patients who participated in an inpatient rehabilitation program following an orthopedic event. We obtained complete follow-up data on 181 participants. Baseline data were collected within 48 hours of admission and included demographics, rehabilitation diagnosis, living location prior to admission, the Mini-mental State Examination, and the Barthel Index (BI). Telephone follow-up was made at 3, 6, and 12 months after discharge from rehabilitation, and we obtained information about demographic data and functional status (BI).


There were no differences in the demographic characteristics of the two groups except for race; a larger percentage of African-Americans were in the impaired group. There was a statistically significant main effect of time with functional ability of all participants, increasing over the 12-month follow-up period.


This study suggests that rehabilitation of the older adult, both with and without cognitive impairment, can result in improvement in functional ability that is sustained over a 12-month period. Although the findings indicate that those with cognitive impairment have lower functional performance at each testing period, these individuals improved functionally during the course of rehabilitation and maintained their discharge level of functioning for 1 year after discharge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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