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Cost-efficiency of specialist inpatient rehabilitation for working-aged adults with complex neurological disabilities: a multicentre cohort analysis of a national clinical data set
  1. Lynne Turner-Stokes1,2,
  2. Heather Williams2,
  3. Alan Bill2,
  4. Paul Bassett3,
  5. Keith Sephton2
  1. 1Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, Department of Palliative Care, Policy and Rehabilitation, King's College London, London, UK
  2. 2Regional/Hyper-acute Rehabilitation Unit, Northwick Park Hospital, UK
  3. 3Statsconsultancy Ltd, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Lynne Turner-Stokes; lynne.turner-stokes{at}


Objectives To evaluate functional outcomes, care needs and cost-efficiency of specialist rehabilitation for a multicentre cohort of inpatients with complex neurological disability, comparing different diagnostic groups across 3 levels of dependency.

Design A multicentre cohort analysis of prospectively collected clinical data from the UK Rehabilitation Outcomes Collaborative (UKROC) national clinical database, 2010–2015.

Setting All 62 specialist (levels 1 and 2) rehabilitation services in England.

Participants Working-aged adults (16–65 years) with complex neurological disability. Inclusion criteria: all episodes with length of stay (LOS) 8–400 days and complete outcome measures recorded on admission and discharge. Total N=5739: acquired brain injury n=4182 (73%); spinal cord injury n=506 (9%); peripheral neurological conditions n=282 (5%); progressive conditions n=769 (13%).

Intervention Specialist inpatient multidisciplinary rehabilitation.

Outcome measures Dependency and care costs: Northwick Park Dependency Scale/Care Needs Assessment (NPDS/NPCNA). Functional independence: UK Functional Assessment Measure (UK Functional Independence Measure (FIM)+FAM). Cost-efficiency: (1) time taken to offset rehabilitation costs by savings in NPCNA-estimated costs of ongoing care, (2) FIM efficiency (FIM gain/LOS days), (3) FIM+FAM efficiency (FIM+FAM gain/LOS days). Patients were analysed in 3 groups of dependency.

Results Mean LOS 90.1 (SD 66) days. All groups showed significant reduction in dependency between admission and discharge on all measures (paired t tests: p<0.001). Mean reduction in ‘weekly care costs’ was greatest in the high-dependency group at £760/week (95% CI 726 to 794)), compared with the medium-dependency (£408/week (95% CI 370 to 445)), and low-dependency (£130/week (95% CI 82 to 178)), groups. Despite longer LOS, time taken to offset the cost of rehabilitation was 14.2 (95% CI 9.9 to 18.8) months in the high-dependency group, compared with 22.3 (95% CI 16.9 to 29.2) months (medium dependency), and 27.7 (95% CI 15.9 to 39.7) months (low dependency). FIM efficiency appeared greatest in medium-dependency patients (0.54), compared with the low-dependency (0.37) and high-dependency (0.38) groups. Broadly similar patterns were seen across all 4 diagnostic groups.

Conclusions Specialist rehabilitation can be highly cost-efficient for all neurological conditions, producing substantial savings in ongoing care costs, especially in high-dependency patients.

  • outcome measurement
  • dependency
  • cost-efficiency

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