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ORIGINAL ARTICLE   Free accessfree

European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2018 December;54(6):934-8

DOI: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.05221-8


language: English

Role of rehabilitation in the elderly after an acute event: insights from a real-life prospective study in the subacute care setting

Gianluigi GALIZIA 1, Giulio BALESTRIERI 2, Beatrice DE MARIA 1, Cinzia LASTORIA 1, Mauro MONELLI 1, Stefano SALVADERI 1, Giuseppe ROMANELLI 2, Laura A. DALLA VECCHIA 1

1 Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Milan, Italy; 2 School of Geriatrics, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy

BACKGROUND: Any acute event, either primary or secondary to a chronic disease, is generally followed by some degree of physical impairment. Subacute care (SAC) represents one of the inpatient intermediate care settings aimed at completing recovery and restoring functional capacity. Debate exists on the role of the rehabilitation treatment in the SAC setting.
AIM: The aim of this study was to compare the outcomes of patients managed in two different SAC Units where A) patients undergo an individualized rehabilitation program on top of optimal medical therapy (OMT) B) patients receive OMT only.
DESIGN: Real-life prospective study.
POPULATION: Seventy-five chronic heart failure (CHF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients transferred after an acute hospitalization.
METHODS: Upon SAC admission, the following scales were obtained: cumulative illness rating scale comorbidity and severity (CIRSC and CIRSS), mini mental state examination (MMSE), Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA), Barthel Index (BI), the 10-meter walking test (10MWT). Pre-admission BI was also collected based on history. Upon SAC discharge, BI, POMA, and 10MWT were repeated.
RESULTS: Patients (44 in Group A, 31 in Group B) were similar with regard to age, gender, MMSE, clinical complexity, pre-admission BI, admission 10MWT, POMA, and bedrest conditions. Admission BI was lower in Group A. In both groups BI was lower when compared to the respective pre-admission score. Upon discharge, Group A patients were characterized by a higher BI and POMA compared to Group B. Indeed, BI and POMA improved at discharge only in Group A patients. Only this latter group reached the pre-morbid BI. Upon discharge the number of bedrest patients decreased only in Group A. The percentage of patients discharged home was also much higher in Group A, while a greater number of Group B patients were transferred to a rehabilitation ward or were enrolled in an integrated home care assistance program.
CONCLUSIONS: In a real-life prospective experience, a better outcome is demonstrated in elderly CHF and COPD patients undergoing a rehabilitative approach during their in-hospital SAC stay.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: An individualized rehabilitation program should integrate medical treatment of CHF and BPCO patients in the SAC setting. This approach demonstrates a better cost-effectiveness management of these patients.

KEY WORDS: Aged - Rehabilitation - Subacute care - Heart failure - Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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