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Healthy Days at Home Among Older Medicare Beneficiaries With Traumatic Brain Injury Requiring Inpatient Rehabilitation.

OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to characterize and identify correlates of healthy days at home (HDaH) before and after TBI requiring inpatient rehabilitation. Setting: Inpatient hospital, nursing home, and home health services.

PARTICIPANTS: Average of n= 631 community-dwelling fee-for-service age 66+ Medicare beneficiaries across 30 replicate samples who were hospitalized for traumatic brain injury (TBI) between 2012 and 2014 and admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) within 72 hours of hospital discharge.

DESIGN: Retrospective study using data from Medicare claims supplemented with data from the National Trauma Databank.

MAIN MEASURES: The primary outcome, HDaH, was calculated as time alive not using inpatient hospital, nursing home, and home health services in the year before TBI hospitalization and after IRF discharge.

RESULTS: We found HDaH declined from 93.2% in the year before TBI hospitalization to 65.3% in the year after IRF discharge (73.6% among survivors only). Most variability in HDaH was: (1) in the first 3 months after discharge and (2) by discharge disposition, with persons discharged from IRF to another acute hospital having the worst prognosis for utilization and death. In negative binomial regression models, the strongest predictors of HDaH in the year after discharge were rehabilitation Functional Independence Measure mobility score (β = 0.03; 95% CI, 0.002-0.06) and inpatient Charlson Comorbidity Index score (β = - 0.06; 95% CI, -0.13 to 0.001). Dual Medicaid eligible was associated with less HDaH among survivors (β = - 0.37; 95% CI, -0.66 to -0.07).

CONCLUSION: In this study, among community-dwelling older adults with TBI, we found a notable decrease in the proportion of time spent alive at home without higher-level care after IRF discharge compared to before TBI. The finding that physical disability and comorbidities were the biggest drivers of healthy days alive in this population suggests that a chronic disease management model is required for older adults with TBI to manage their complex health care needs.

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