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Date of this Version



Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2011;92:1455-61; doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2011.03.029


Objective: To determine patient-, treatment-, and facilitylevel characteristics associated with receiving outpatient rehabilitation services after lower extremity amputation within the Veterans Affairs (VA) system.

Design: Observational study.

Setting: All Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs).

Participants: Veterans (N=4165) with lower extremity amputation discharged from VAMCs between October 1, 2002, and September 20, 2004. Interventions: Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measures: Receipt of outpatient rehabilitation services up to 1 year postdischarge. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to determine the adjusted hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval of veterans to receive outpatient services.

Results: Sixty-five percent of veterans with lower extremity amputation received outpatient services. Older veterans, patients admitted for surgical amputation from extended care rather than transferred from another hospital, and those with transfemoral and/or bilateral rather than unilateral transtibial amputations were less likely to receive outpatient services. Those with serious comorbidities and those who had procedures for acute central nervous system disorders, active cardiac pathology, serious nutritional compromise, and severe renal disease during the surgical hospitalization less often initiated outpatient care. Patients who received inpatient consultative rehabilitation compared with inpatient specialized rehabilitation, and who were treated in the Northeast compared with the Southeast less often initiated outpatient care. Finally, those discharged to home or other locations rather than extended care had an initial increased likelihood of receiving outpatient service, but by 180 days postdischarge those discharged to extended care were more likely to initiate outpatient services.

Conclusions: Both clinical characteristics and types of rehabilitation services received appear to influence the receipt of outpatient rehabilitation services. Geographic location also affected the receipt of outpatient rehabilitation, suggesting that care patterns are not standardized across the nation.

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