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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2012, Article ID 972365, 7 pages
Research Article

The Impact of Severe Obesity on Post-Acute Rehabilitation Efficiency, Length of Stay, and Hospital Costs

1Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2B7
2Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5G 0B7

Received 3 November 2011; Accepted 17 December 2011

Academic Editor: Francesco Saverio Papadia

Copyright © 2012 Raj S. Padwal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Objective. The purpose of this retrospective observational study was to examine the influence of severe obesity on length of stay (LOS), rehabilitation efficiency, and hospital costs post-acute rehabilitation in a population-based, tertiary care, publicly-funded regional rehabilitation center. Participants. 42 severely obese subjects (mean age 53 y; mean BMI 50.9 kg/m2) and 42 nonobese controls (mean age 59 y; mean BMI 23.0 kg/m2) matched by sex and admitting diagnosis. Main Outcome Measures. Total LOS, rehab LOS, waiting for transfer LOS, Fuctional Independence Measure (FIM) efficiency, and hospital costs. Results. Compared to controls, severely obese subjects experienced longer total LOS (98.4 vs. 37.4 days; P=0.03), rehabilitation LOS (55.8 vs. 37.4 days; P=0.04), and waiting for transfer LOS (42.6 vs. 0 days; P=0.006); increased hospital costs ($115,822 vs. $43,969; P=0.03); and similar FIM efficiency (0.58 vs. 0.67; P=0.27). Severe obesity was an independent predictor of total LOS (beta-coefficient 0.51; P=0.03), rehab LOS (0.46; P=0.02) but not FIM efficiency (−0.63; P=0.06). Conclusion. Severe obesity adversely affects rehabilitation LOS and expenditures. Targeted interventions in severely obese individuals to optimize post-acute rehabilitation care delivery are needed.