• Vol. 36 No. 1, 3–10
  • 15 January 2007

Results From a Prospective Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation Database: Clinical Characteristics and Functional Outcomes using the Functional Independence Measure



Introduction: Rehabilitation improves functional outcomes, but there is little data on the profiles and outcomes of patients undergoing inpatient rehabilitation in Singapore. The aims of this paper were to document the clinical characteristics and functional outcomes, using the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), of all patients admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation unit in a tertiary teaching hospital, and to identify and analyse factors significantly associated with better discharge functional scores and higher functional gains. Materials and Methods: In this prospective cohort study over a 4-year period, clinical and functional data for 1502 patients admitted consecutively to the Singapore General Hospital inpatient rehabilitation unit were charted into a custom-designed rehabilitation database. The primary outcome measures were the discharge total FIM scores, FIM gain and FIM efficiency. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to identify independent variables associated with better discharge FIM scores and FIM gain. Results: The mean age was 61.3 ± 15.0 years and 57.2% of the patients were male. Stroke (57.9%) followed by spinal cord injury (9.7%) were the most common diagnoses. The average rehabilitation length of stay was 21.5 ± 19.0 days. The mean admission total FIM score was 70.3 ± 23.2 and the mean discharge total FIM score was 87.3 ± 23.0, with this gain being highly significant (P <0.001). The mean FIM gain was 17.0 ± 13.4 and FIM efficiency was 0.95 ± 0.90 points/day. Factors associated with better functional outcomes were higher admission motor and cognitive FIM scores, male gender, a longer rehabilitation length of stay and the use of acupuncture. Factors associated with poorer functional outcomes were older age, clinical deconditioning, ischaemic heart disease, depression, pressure sores and the presence of a domestic worker as a caregiver. Conclusions: The FIM is an easy-to-use, standardised and robust general measure of functional disability. Multiple demographic, clinical and socio-cultural variables are associated with the primary functional outcomes and should be taken into account in rehabilitation and discharge planning. Nevertheless, rehabilitation improves functional outcomes across a wide range of diagnoses. Further research should be aimed at evaluating long-term disability post-discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and translating these findings into improving rehabilitation and healthcare resource utilisation.

Rehabilitation improves functional outcomes.1 Dedicated rehabilitation facilities employing a multidisciplinary model of care further improve outcome and quality of life compared to rehabilitation in general medical wards.2 With the ageing of the population in developed countries, as well as the increasing prevalence of disability from chronic disease due to improved acute medical care, the demand for rehabilitation care will continue to rise. This has resulted in spiralling costs for rehabilitation due to the staff-intensive nature of the specialty.3

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