Hospital Weekend Rehabilitation Services Improve Outcomes and May Save Money

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Natasha K Brusco
Manager of Physiotherapy Services, Cabrini Health
PhD Candidate, Physiotherapy Department, Faculty of Health Science,
La Trobe University, Bundoora,
Victoria, Australia

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: This economic evaluation reports that providing additional Saturday rehabilitation, compared to Monday to Friday rehabilitation alone, is likely to be cost saving per quality adjusted life year gained and for a minimal clinically important difference in functional independence. This builds on previous literature that reports that additional Saturday rehabilitation can improve functional independence and health related quality of life at discharge and may reduce patient length of stay.

MedicalResearch:   Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer:   In this study the likely reduction in patient length of stay and cost were expected based on the pilot study. What was not expected was the likely reduction in overnight stays to the health service in the 30 day period post discharge. This result suggested that the improved functional status achieved at discharge, by the group who received the additional Saturday rehabilitation, had a flow on effect of continued reduction in health service utilisation post discharge from rehabilitation.

MedicalResearch:  What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer:    The provision of weekend rehabilitation services has the potential for better patient outcomes as well as cost savings for the health service. The short term cost of providing the additional Saturday rehabilitation service is outweighed by the likely reduction in length of stay and cost per admission, as well as improved clinical outcomes.

MedicalResearch:    What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer:  This study did not include the socioeconomic impact on the community once patients are discharged from rehabilitation including return to work. The longer term economic outcomes post discharge, also warrant future research, which is planned. A final consideration may be investigation of a 7 day rehabilitation service versus the 6 day service examined in the current study.

Citation:

Are weekend inpatient rehabilitation services value for money? An economic evaluation alongside a randomized controlled trial with a 30 day follow up
Brusco NK1, Watts JJ, Shields N, Taylor NF.
BMC Med. 2014 May 29;12(1):89. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-12-89.

 

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