Background: Medical events, such as stroke, limb fractures, joint replacements and spinal injuries, can lead to acute functional disability at all ages and to chronic disability, especially among the elderly. Rehabilitation is, therefore, essential for the prevention of permanent disability among older individuals. There are international practice guidelines for stroke and hip fracture management, including recommendations that rehabilitation services be an integral part of the provision of treatment in either an inpatient setting or in the community. There are no organized data on provision of rehabilitation services in Israel or on the distribution of these services throughout the country. Such information would be of great assistance in designing these services where they are needed and in making changes in the existing ones where necessary. Methods: Patients aged 65 years or older with stroke or hip fracture were identified through one-day surveys conducted in 2009-2010 in all 26 acute care hospitals in Israel. Data on inpatient and ambulatory rehabilitation services were collected from discharge medical summaries, telephone interviews with the patients or their relatives and reports from the healthcare provider. The extent of rehabilitation services was described and the association between receipt of inpatient rehabilitation and the geographic district based on the patients' listed address was examined in a multivariate analysis. Results: A total of 570 patients with stroke and 768 patients with hip fracture were identified and interviews were conducted in regards to 421 and 672 respectively. Out of the stroke patients 238(56.5%) received inpatient rehabilitation, 46(10.9%) received ambulatory rehabilitation treatment without inpatient phase and 137 (32.5%) received no rehabilitation. In fracture these rates were 494(73.5%), 96(14.3%) and 82(12.2%) respectively. Patients living in districts with lower availability of rehabilitation beds were less likely to receive inpatient rehabilitation after controlling for patient characteristics. Conclusions: Regional disparities in the provision of inpatient rehabilitation care for elderly after an acute episode of stroke or hip fracture were identified and could be partially attributed to the distribution of rehabilitation beds. These findings highlight the need to plan the rehabilitation resources based on the population needs and to routinely monitor the provision of these services.
- Health care disparities
- Hip fracture