Objective The aim of the study was to explore variation in acute care use of inpatient rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing facilities rehabilitation after ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
Design A secondary analysis of Medicare claims data linked to inpatient rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing facilities assessment files (2013-2014) was performed.
Results The sample included 122,084 stroke patients discharged to inpatient or skilled nursing facilities from 3677 acute hospitals. Of the acute hospitals, 3649 discharged patients with an ischemic stroke (range = 1-402 patients/hospital, median = 15) compared with 1832 acute hospitals that discharged patients with hemorrhagic events (range = 1-73 patients/hospital, median = 4). The intraclass correlation coefficient examined variation in discharge settings attributed to acute hospitals (ischemic intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.318, hemorrhagic intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.176). Patients older than 85 yrs and those with greater numbers of co-morbid conditions were more likely to discharge to skilled nursing facilities. Comparison of self-care and mobility across stroke type suggests that patients with ischemic stroke have higher functional abilities at admission.
Conclusions This study suggests demographic and clinical differences among stroke patients admitted for postacute rehabilitation at inpatient rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing facilities settings. Furthermore, examination of variation in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke discharges suggests acute facility-level differences and indicates a need for careful consideration of patient and facility factors when comparing the effectiveness of inpatient rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing facilities rehabilitation.