WEDNESDAY, April 6, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For patients with COVID-19, care at a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) seems beneficial, according to a study published in the January to March volume of JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies.

Pete Grevelding, P.T., from Gaylord Specialty Healthcare in Wallingford, Connecticut, and colleagues describe the characteristics, clinical management, and patient outcomes occurring during and after acute COVID-19 in an LTACH. Electronic medical records of patients treated for COVID-19-related impairments from March 19, 2020, through Aug. 14, 2020 (118 patients) and a reference population of medically complex patients discharged Dec. 1, 2019, to Feb. 29, 2020, were reviewed.

The researchers found that the mean length of stay was similar for the COVID-19 cohort and the reference cohort. In the COVID-19 cohort, but not the reference cohort, there was a positive correlation observed between patient age and length of stay. From admission to discharge, the ambulation assistance scores improved in both the COVID-19 and reference cohorts; at discharge, the mean assistance score was greater in the COVID-19 versus the reference cohort (4.9 versus 4.1). Similarly, the mean change in gait distance was greater in the COVID-19 versus the reference cohort (221.1 versus 146.4 feet). Ninety-four percent of the 16 mechanically ventilated patients at admission were weaned before discharge; 75 percent of the 75 patients admitted with a restricted diet were discharged on a regular diet.

“These observations indicate the potential benefits of individualized, focused, and holistic rehabilitation in a population severely affected by COVID-19,” the authors write.

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