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The foundation of evidence based practice is data collection. It allows clinicians and administrators to identify best practices by analyzing outcomes achieved by patients treated in rehabilitation facilities using specific therapeutic protocols.  Changes and improvements in programs can then be implemented by data –driven decision making. Variables such length of stay, discharge to community setting, self-care, mobility and family support can be predictors of quality care and quality of life.  The impact of these variables (among others) may help improve future treatment.

 

A major goal of medical rehabilitation services is returning patients to their home environment.  Follow-up data collection allows facility personnel the opportunity to assess patient function over time and in the individuals’ own environment.  For outcomes to be considered durable, a comparison is made between functional performance upon discharge and at three months post-discharge to determine if function is maintained or improved.

Reliability of follow-up data collection is established and maintained through rigorous training and ongoing supervision of nurses assessing patient function by telephone interview.  The method was originally established by conducting research on model agreement (observation vs. interview) and has been widely accepted over years of practice.  Providing representative data requires case mix adjustment of reports for apples to apples comparison of outcomes. 

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