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Saxena SK, Koh GCH, Ng TP, Fong NP, Yong D
Correspondence: Dr GCH Koh, email@example.com
Introduction Length of stay (LOS) in hospitals is the largest contributor of direct stroke care cost. Rehabilitation accounts for 16 percent of healthcare cost in the six-month post-stroke period. It is important to determine factors extending LOS in rehabilitation hospitals to identify focus areas of cost-control strategies. The aim of the study was to ascertain the predictors of LOS of post-stroke patients admitted into two community hospitals offering rehabilitation.
Methods An observational cohort study was conducted on 200 stroke patients admitted from acute hospitals into two community hospitals. Data collected included baseline sociodemographical variables, and the National Institute of Health Stroke Scale, Abbreviated Mental Test, Geriatric Depression Scale and Barthel Index were used to assess neurological impairment, cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms and functional disability, respectively. Medical complications (defined as new or exacerbated medical problems that generated additional physician evaluation, a change in medication or additional medical intervention), after patients were admitted to the community hospitals until discharged, were recorded. The outcome variables measured were length and cost of stay.
Results The mean LOS in our study was 34.4 (standard deviation [SD] 18.4) days, and the mean cost of hospital stay was S$2,410.83 (SD S$2,167.26). Length and cost of hospital stay were significantly correlated (r equals 0.52; p-value is less than 0.01). On multiple linear regression analysis, the significant variables positively associated with LOS were medical complications and functional dependence on admission. Significant variables negatively associated with LOS were unplanned discharge and recurrent strokes.
Conclusion Medical complication is a key reversible determinant of increased LOS of post-stroke patients receiving rehabilitation in community hospitals. Strategies for prevention, early detection and treatment of medical complications during stroke rehabilitation are discussed.
Keywords: cerebrovascular accident, community hospital, length of stay, post-stroke rehabilitation, rehabilitation, stroke, stroke complications
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(5): 400–407