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Objective: To evaluate functional outcomes in patients three years after rehabilitation and to identify factors significantly associated with improvement.
Materials and Methods: This prospective cohort study was carried out in nine tertiary centers to compare functional outcomes (Barthel Index; BI) at discharge with scores at three-year follow-up among various diagnoses and types of admissions. Related factors were evaluated for association with improvement in functional score.
Results: Three hundred and eighteen patients (mean age: 54 years; 60% male) were included. More than half of all patients suffered from a spinal cord injury. After three years, 35% of patients were still receiving physical therapy. Only those who were admitted for intensive rehabilitation showed significant improvement after three years. One hundred and ten patients or 35.8% showed significant improvement over time. A univariate analysis showed type of diagnosis, type of admission, onset to admission interval, BI at discharge, and presence of depression and complications at follow-up to be significantly associated with improvements in functional score in the follow-up period. Using a multivariate analysis, only the type of diagnosis, low BI at discharge, and absence of depression and complications at follow-up related to functional improvement.
Conclusion: One-third of patients had sustained functional improvements from rehabilitation three years after discharge. Participants admitted into intensive rehabilitation showed significant improvements in functional scores between discharge and follow-up. TBI diagnosis, low BI at discharge, absence of depression and complications at follow-up related to long-term functional improvement at the three-year mark.
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