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BACKGROUND: multidisciplinary rehabilitation is of proven benefit in the management of older inpatients. However, the identification of patients who will do well with rehabilitation currently lacks a strong evidence base. OBJECTIVES: the aims of this study were to compare the importance of chronological age, gender, co-morbidities and frailty in the prediction of adverse outcomes for patients admitted to an acute geriatric rehabilitation ward. DESIGN: prospective observational cohort study. SUBJECTS AND SETTING: two hundred and sixty-five patients admitted consecutively to an acute geriatric rehabilitation ward at a tertiary care teaching hospital. METHODS: frailty status was measured by an index of accumulated deficits, giving a potential score from 0 (no deficits) to 1.0 (all 40 deficits present). Patients were stratified into three outcomes: good (discharged to original residence within 28 days), intermediate (discharged to original residence but longer hospital stay) and poor (newly institutionalised or died). RESULTS: patients were old (82.6 ± 8.6 years) and frail (mean frailty index (FI) 0.34 ± 0.09). Frailty status correlated significantly with length of stay and was a predictor of poor functional gain. The odds ratio of intermediate and poor outcome relative to a good outcome was 4.95 (95% CI = 3.21, 7.59; P < 0.001) per unit increase in FI. Chronological age, gender and co-morbidity showed no significant association with outcomes. CONCLUSION: frailty is associated with adverse rehabilitation outcomes. The FI may have clinical utility, augmenting clinical judgement in the management of older inpatients.

Original publication




Journal article


Age Ageing

Publication Date





242 - 246


Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Chi-Square Distribution, Comorbidity, Female, Frail Elderly, Geriatric Assessment, Geriatrics, Health Status Indicators, Hospital Mortality, Hospital Units, Hospitals, Teaching, Humans, Institutionalization, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Length of Stay, Logistic Models, Male, Multivariate Analysis, Odds Ratio, Patient Care Team, Patient Discharge, Patient Selection, Prospective Studies, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Treatment Outcome, Wales