Original research| Volume 102, ISSUE 1, P68-75, January 2021

Regional Variations in Rehabilitation Outcomes of Adult Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation Investigation

Published:August 27, 2020DOI:



      To examine regional differences in rehabilitation outcomes among adult patients with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) who received care at an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF).


      We conducted a secondary analysis of a large, multi-center dataset from the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation.


      More than 70% of all IRFs in the United States.


      Adult TBI patients (N=175,358) aged 18 years or older who were admitted and discharged from an IRF in the United States between 2004 and 2014. Qualifying etiology included traumatic brain dysfunction Impairment Group codes 02.21 (traumatic, open injury) and 02.22 (traumatic, closed injury).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Discharge functional status (total, cognitive, motor), length of stay, and discharge to home.


      Patient and clinical characteristics varied significantly by geographic location, as did median functional status, length of stay, and percentage of patients discharged home. The region where IRF care was received, race and ethnicity, age, occurrence of 1 or more falls during the IRF stay, case mix group, and insurance status were associated with discharge functional status, length of stay, and discharge to home.


      Our findings provide evidence of geographic differences in outcomes and potential disparities in care of TBI patients who received IRF care. More research is needed to identify TBI patients at risk for poor discharge outcomes to inform development and testing of interventions to reduce disparities in outcomes for these patients.


      List of abbreviations:

      CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services), ICD (International Classification of Diseases), IQR (interquartile range), IRF (inpatient rehabilitation facility), LOS (length of stay), TBI (traumatic brain injury), UDSMR (Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation)
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