The impact of inpatient neurorehabilitation on psychological well–being on discharge and at 3 month follow–up
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- O’Connor, R.J., Cano, .J., Thompson, A.J. et al. J Neurol (2005) 252: 814. doi:10.1007/s00415-005-0751-x
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Neurological rehabilitation aims to improve quality of life of patients with acute and chronic neurological conditions. Much of the existing research focuses on the impact of rehabilitation on physical functioning, with less emphasis on emotional wellbeing. This study assessed changes in psychological functioning in patients on discharge from rehabilitation and three months after discharge.
Patients admitted over a six–month period to a neurological rehabilitation unit were recruited prospectively to this study. Psychological functioning was measured by the self–report General Health Questionnaire and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. In addition, physical functioning was measured by the Barthel index and Functional Independence Measure.
Psychological functioning was found to be significantly improved with rehabilitation. However, after three months, patients’ scores returned to pre–treatment values. Anxiety was consistently elevated on admission, discharge and follow–up. In contrast, physical functioning improved from admission to discharge and was maintained at follow–up assessment.
Rehabilitation services need to focus more on psychological functioning after discharge and identify effective strategies to maintain wellbeing.