Do rehabilitative nursing homes improve the outcomes of care?

Robert L. Kane, Qing Chen, Lynn A. Blewett, Judith Sangl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To compare the differences in outcomes of Medicare patients discharged from hospital to two types of nursing homes, rehabilitative and regular, and to rehabilitative facilities. DESIGN: Criteria for distinguishing rehabilitative nursing homes (RNHs) from ordinary nursing homes (NH), based on staffing criteria, were developed by an expert panel and validated on a national sample of nursing homes. Those criteria that significantly discriminated the two types of NHs were then applied to a sample of nursing homes from a study of the outcomes of care for more than 2500 Medicare patients to classify the nursing homes to which patients were discharged. Actual discharge outcomes were compared with optimal outcomes based on predictive equations for different types of treatment (ordinary NH care, RNH care, and formal rehabilitative care). PARTICIPANTS: Medicare patients with strokes and hip fractures discharged from 52 hospitals in three cities. MEASUREMENTS: A disability scale that weights components of ADL measures was used as the primary outcome indicator. Nursing homes were classified as rehabilitative on the basis of the extent of staffing in rehabilitative areas. RESULTS: Patients discharged to various types of care varied on several parameters. After adjusting for these differences, stroke patients fared better when treated in rehabilitative facilities; there was no substantial benefit for RNH care over NH care. Healthier hip fracture patients who received RNH care fared better, but functional change for sicker hip fracture patients was not different among the three groups. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that at least a preliminary distinction among NHs can be made on the basis of staffing patterns and that the benefits of the additional staffing may vary with the problem under consideration. More work is needed to establish just what sorts of patients are most likely to benefit from the higher level of NH care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-554
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996


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