Rehabilitation Practice and Science


Purpose: The prevalence of hospital-associated disability is high among older individuals; early rehabilitation may mitigate subsequent physical function decline. However, information regarding the short-term survival of hospitalized older individuals receiving inpatient rehabilitation is limited. We evaluated the relationship of early rehabilitation on the post-discharge 3-month mortality of older patients. Moreover, the association between various age groups and 3-month mortality with or without early rehabilitation was explored. Methods: A retrospective cohort study, patients aged ≥65 years admitted to the geriatrics ward for acute medical illness were recruited. Differences in age, sex, Barthel index and comorbidities between patients with and without early rehabilitation were compared. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the interrelation of relevant variables with 3-month mortality. Results: A total of 199 patients were included in the early rehabilitation group and 268 in the non-early rehabilitation groups. The total 3-month mortality after discharge was 22.91%, with a lower mortality rate in the early rehabilitation group than that in the non-early rehabilitation (20.60% vs. 24.63%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that early rehabilitation, and high Barthel scores on admission were significantly associated with reduced adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 3-month mortality (AOR: 0.974, 95% CI: 0.965-0.982, p<0.001 and AOR: 0.567, 95% CI: 0.351-0.916, p<0.02, respectively). Besides, those aged ≥85 years receiving early rehabilitation had a significantly lower AOR of 3-month mortality (AOR: 0.378, 95% CI: 0.179-0.796) than that in other age groups. Conclusions: Early rehabilitation might be a crucial and modifiable factor to reduce the odds of post-discharge 3-month mortality among hospitalized older individuals. The benefit is more significant in older adults aged ≥ 85 years than in other age groups.