Rehabilitation Outcomes and Infection Control in the Early Stage of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Introduction: Understanding how infection control measures were devised and the outcomes of rehabilitation in the early stage of an emerging infectious disease pandemic is important. This study aimed to investigate the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on inpatient rehabilitation, and to determine the effectiveness of the original infection control measures implemented for the rehabilitation team. Material and Methods: In this single-center, retrospective, observational study, we calculated multiple rehabilitation indices of patients discharged from our rehabilitation ward between February 28 and May 25, 2020 when Hokkaido was initially affected by COVID-19, and compared them with those calculated during the same period in 2019. Fisher’s exact test and the Mann-Whitney U test were used for statistical analysis. We also verified the impact of implementing the original infection control measures for the rehabilitation team on preventing nosocomial infections. Results: A total of 93 patients (47 of 2020 group, 46 of 2019 group) were included. The median age was 87 and 88 years, respectively, with no differences in age, sex, and main disease between the groups. Training time per day in the ward in 2020 was significantly lower than that in 2019 (p = 0.013). No significant differences were found in the qualitative evaluation indices of Functional Independence Measure (FIM) score at admission, FIM gain, length of ward stay, FIM efficiency, and rate of discharge to home. None of the patients or staff members had confirmed COVID-19 during the study period. Conclusions: Early COVID-19 pandemic affected the quantitative index for inpatient rehabilitation but not the qualitative indices. No symptomatic nosocomial COVID-19 infections were observed with our infection control measures.
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