Article Title

Rural inpatient rehabilitation by specialist outreach: Comparison with a city unit


Objective: To examine the effectiveness of a rural inpatient rehabilitation service provided by specialist outreach, and to compare outcomes with a large inner city unit.

Design: Descriptive study using health service outcome data.

Setting: Rural base hospital and inner city tertiary referral centre.

Participants: A total of 329 patients (234 city and 95 rural) admitted for inpatient rehabilitation.

Main outcome measures: Length of hospital stay, Functional Independence Measure, discharge destination.

Results: Functional Independence Measure gain per week was 5.4 for the rural outreach unit, compared with 5.5 for the city unit. Length of stay was shorter for the rural unit, with a higher proportion of patients discharged to nursing home.

Conclusions: Similar rates of functional improvement are achievable with rural inpatient rehabilitation provided by specialist outreach compared with a large inner city unit. Local factors probably account for the shorter length of stay in the rural unit.



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