Special communication| Volume 96, ISSUE 5, P960-969, May 2015

Postacute Rehabilitation Quality of Care: Toward a Shared Conceptual Framework

Published:December 23, 2014DOI:


      There is substantial interest in mechanisms for measuring, reporting, and improving the quality of health care, including postacute care (PAC) and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, current activities generally are either too narrow or too poorly specified to reflect PAC rehabilitation quality of care. In part, this is caused by a lack of a shared conceptual understanding of what construes quality of care in PAC rehabilitation. This article presents the PAC-rehab quality framework: an evidence-based conceptual framework articulating elements specifically pertaining to PAC rehabilitation quality of care. The widely recognized Donabedian structure, process, and outcomes (SPO) model furnished the underlying structure for the PAC-rehab quality framework, and the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framed the functional outcomes. A comprehensive literature review provided the evidence base to specify elements within the SPO model and ICF-derived framework. A set of macrolevel-outcomes (functional performance, quality of life of patient and caregivers, consumers' experience, place of discharge, health care utilization) were defined for PAC rehabilitation and then related to their (1) immediate and intermediate outcomes, (2) underpinning care processes, (3) supportive team functioning and improvement processes, and (4) underlying care structures. The role of environmental factors and centrality of patients in the framework are explicated as well. Finally, we discuss why outcomes may best measure and reflect the quality of PAC rehabilitation. The PAC-rehab quality framework provides a conceptually sound, evidence-based framework appropriate for quality of care activities across the PAC rehabilitation continuum.


      List of abbreviations:

      HHA (home health agency), HRQOL (health-related quality of life), ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health), PAC (postacute care), SNF (skilled nursing facility), SPO (structure, process, and outcomes)
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