• Vol. 39 No. 6, 435–441
  • 15 June 2010

Factors Associated with Delayed Discharges after Inpatient Stroke Rehabilitation in Singapore



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Introduction: This study determines the extent of, and factors associated with, delayed dis charges for stroke patients from inpatient rehabilitation.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective cohort study utilising medical notes review was conducted at an inpatient rehabilitation centre in Singapore. Acute stroke patients (n = 487) admitted between March 2005 and December 2006 were studied. The primary measure was delayed discharge defined as an extension in inpatient stay beyond the planned duration. Factors associated with delays in discharge were categorised as individual, caregiver, medical and organisational.

Results: There were a total of 172 delayed discharges (35.6%). The mean [standard deviation (SD)] length of stay was 40.5 days (SD, 19.5 days) and 25.8 days (SD, 11.4 days) for patients with delayed and prompt discharges, respectively. Mean extension of stay was 9.7 days (SD, 13.8 days). Caregiver-related reasons were cited for 79.7% of the delays whereas organisational factors (awaiting nursing home placement, investigations or specialist appointments) accounted for 17.4%. Four factors were found to be independently associated with delayed discharge: discharge to the care of foreign domestic helper, nursing home placement, lower admission Functional Independence Measure (FIM) motor score and discharge planning process.

Conclusions: Our study suggests that caregiver and organisational factors were main contributors of delayed discharge. Targeted caregiver training and the provision of post-discharge support may improve the confidence of caregivers of patients with greater motor disability. The use of structured discharge planning programmes may improve the efficiency of the rehabilitation service. To reduce delays, problems with the supply of formal and informal post-discharge care must also be addressed.

Persisting disabilities from stroke lead to partial or total dependence for up to two-thirds of survivors. To improve mobility and to enable the recommencement of self-care activities, rehabilitation is essential.

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