Adherence to postacute rehabilitation guidelines is associated with functional recovery in stroke

Pamela W. Duncan*, Ronnie D. Horner, Dean M. Reker, Gregory P. Samsa, Helen Hoenig, Byron Hamilton, Barbara J. LaClair, Tara K. Dudley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

229 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose - The purpose of this study was to determine if compliance with poststroke rehabilitation guidelines was associated with better functional outcomes. Methods - An inception cohort of 288 stroke patients in 11 Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Centers hospitalized between January 1998 and March 1999 were followed prospectively for 6 months. Data were abstracted from medical records and telephone interviews. The primary study outcome was the Functional Independence Motor Score (FIM). Secondary outcomes included Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), SF-36 physical functioning, and the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS). Acute and postacute rehabilitation guideline compliance scores (range 0 to 100) were derived from an algorithm. All outcomes were adjusted for case-mix. Results - Average compliance scores in acute and postacute care settings were 68.2% (SD 14) and 69.5% (SD 14.4), respectively. After case-mix adjustment, level of compliance with postacute rehabilitation guidelines was significantly associated with FIM motor, IADL, and the SIS physical domain scores. SF-36 physical function was not associated with guideline compliance. Level of compliance with rehabilitation guidelines in acute settings was unrelated to any of the outcome measures. Conclusion - Greater levels of adherence to postacute stroke rehabilitation guidelines were associated with improved patient outcomes. Compliance with guidelines may be viewed as a quality-of-care indicator with which to evaluate new organizational and funding changes involving postacute stroke rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Process assessment (health care)
  • Quality of health care
  • Rehabilitation outcome
  • Stroke


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