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
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