The proposed study objective is to compare hospital-based rehabilitative care with
transitional subacute rehabilitation for adults recently diagnosed with a disabling
disorder. Clinical outcomes, cost and utilization of services will be compared in order to
test the hypotheses that medically-stable patients receiving rehabilitation from subacute
care facilities will: 1) function as well physically, 2) report less family dysfunction, 3)
have better psychological adjustment and well-being than controls who receive only
hospital-based inpatient care, and 4) receive services at lower cost. We intend to assess
the impact of hospital-based versus subacute care on clinical and cost outcomes at
admission, discharge [3 months post-admission] and at 12 months. The first set of analyses
will determine predictors of physical function, family function, psychological adjustment
and well-being over a 1 year period.
Although subacute transitional care is thought to reduce costs by as much as 60 percent of
hospital-based care costs (DHHS, 1995), systematic prospective studies of utilization and
cost of services have not been done. An important factor to be considered, particularly in
elderly patients, is the cost associated with readmission. Some studies have suggested that
cost savings and reduced readmissions are associated with the increased availability of
post-discharge services (Ludke, MacDowell, Booth et. al., 1990; Weinberger, Smith, Katz et
al., 1988). If such cost savings exist, then transitional subacute care may be an important
community-based resource for patients returning to independent living. In addition to
demonstrating the clinical efficacy of subacute transitional care, the proposed study will
also assess long-term outcomes, taking into account patient resource utilization and the
incidence of readmission.
The current study will determine if subacute transitional care can improve outcomes that are
important to the broad goals of long term independent living and enhanced quality of life.
Variables assessed will focus on physical and family function, adjustment, resource
utilization, skilled care placements, and survival. When compared to hospital-based
rehabilitation, subacute rehabilitation is expected to demonstrate improvements in physical
abilities, family function, adjustment, well being, and survival.
b. Hypothesis. The primary hypothesis is that clinical outcomes will be significantly
better for subacute care patients at 3 and 12 months than hospital-based control patients.
Costs and resource utilization are hypothesized to be significantly less.
c. Objectives and projected timeline. The objective of this study is to conduct a
randomized clinical trial to examine the effects of subacute transitional care compared with
hospital-based rehabilitative care for disabled patients. Specific objectives will be to: 1]
evaluate the type, magnitude and duration of rehabilitative care provided, 2] determine
differences in cost of care provided to the two groups, 3] compare clinical outcomes of the
two treatments by assessing the magnitude of change, and 4] compare long-term outcomes at 12
Secondary objectives will be to describe diagnostic or demographic subgroups who may benefit
to a greater or lesser extent than others.
Patients will be recruited into the study and followed for 1 year, with measurements
occurring at hospital admission, at 3 months, and at 12 months. The time to completion of
the study is projected to be 3 years. Recruitment of subjects will begin during the second
quarter of the project and will continue for 1.5 years. Follow-up measures will continue for
an additional year.