Predicting length of stay, functional outcome, and aftercare in the rehabilitation of stroke patients: The dominant role of higher-order cognition

Thomas Galski, Richard L. Bruno, Richard Zorowitz, John Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Research in recent years has revealed factors that are important predictors of physical and functional rehabilitation: Demographic variables, visual and perceptual impairments, and psychological and cognitive factors. However, there is a remaining uncertainty about prediction of outcome and a need to clinically apply research findings. This study was designed to identify the relative importance of medical, functional, demographic, and cognitive factors in predicting length of stay in rehabilitation, functional outcome, and recommendations for postdischarge continuation of services. Methods: The influence of these factors was determined by comparing diagnostic, medical, demographic, functional, and neuropsychological information that was retrospectively obtained by reviewing the records of 86 patients admitted for comprehensive rehabilitation due to stroke (n=36) or orthopedic injury (n=50). Multiple linear regression with statistical adjustment to control for overprediction of variance was used to predict outcomes. Results: The study revealed the primary importance of higher-order cognitive impairments (comprehension, judgment, short-term verbal memory, and abstract thinking) in extending length of stay and increasing referrals for outpatient therapies and home services after discharge for the cerebrovascular accident patients in comparison with orthopedic cohorts. Conclusions: The need is discussed for early, comprehensive assessment of deficits in cognition that affect a stroke survivor’s ability to participate in a rehabilitation program and remediation that facilitiates functional improvement by building on residuals of impaired abilities or teaching compensatory behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1794-1800
Number of pages7
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1993


  • Cognition
  • Neuropsychological tests
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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