One-third of Medicare ICU patients skip at-home rehab after discharge, study finds

A third of Medicare beneficiaries did not receive home health rehabilitation after a stay in the intensive care unit, despite the fact that it can improve recovery, according to new research.

Researchers examined data for 3,176 Medicare beneficiaries who were discharged home after a hospital stay that included at least 24 hours in the ICU in 2012. The patients' care after their release included home health rehabilitation.

But researchers found that 33 percent of the patients did not receive home health rehabilitation in the month after being discharged from the hospital.

Among the patients who did receive visits, researchers found that patients who lived alone received 11 percent to 15 percent fewer visits and those in rural areas received 6 percent to 10 percent fewer visits.

"Our findings are concerning because it typically takes three to six months for older ICU survivors to recover function, and home rehabilitation can really help in that regard," said Jason Falvey, DPT, PhD, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.

The research was presented at the Society of Critical Care Medicine's 49th Critical Care Congress, Feb. 16-19 in Orlando, Fla.

More articles on post-acute care:
Many 5-star nursing homes have infection control issues 
Pennsylvania nursing home pays $15M to settle unnecessary rehab claims
Ohio nursing home aide charged in patient's death

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