Greater in-hospital care and early rehabilitation needs in people with COVID-19 compared with those without COVID-19


This study aims to compare the characteristics, in-hospital data and rehabilitation needs between those who tested positive versus negative for COVID-19 during hospitalisation with suspected COVID-19. In this cross-sectional study, a convenience sample of adults admitted to Western Australian tertiary hospitals with suspected COVID-19 was recruited. Participants were grouped according to their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result into COVID-19 positive (COVID+) and COVID-19 negative (COVID−) groups. Between-group comparisons of characteristics of the participants and hospital admission data were performed. Sixty-five participants were included (38 COVID+ and 27 COVID−; 36 females [55%]). Participants in the COVID+ group had greater acute hospital length of stay (LOS) (median [25–75th percentile] 10 [5–21] vs. 3 [2–5] days; p < 0.05] and only those with COVID+ required mechanical ventilation (8 [21%] participants). Twenty-one percent of the COVID+ participants were discharged to inpatient rehabilitation (7% of the COVID− participants). Of note, pre-existing pulmonary disease was more prevalent in the COVID− group (59% vs. 13%; p < 0.05). Within the COVID+ group, when compared to participants discharged home, those who required inpatient rehabilitation had worse peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) on admission (86 ± 5.7% vs. 93 ± 3.8%; p < 0.05) and longer median LOS (30 [23–37] vs. 7 [4–13] days; p < 0.05). Despite having less people with pre-existing pulmonary disease, the COVID+ group required more care and rehabilitation than the COVID− group. In the COVID+ group, SpO2 on hospital presentation was associated with LOS, critical care needs, mechanical ventilation duration and the need for inpatient rehabilitation.


COVID-19, rehabilitation, respiratory illness, disease severity

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