Objective: To describe variation in structural and process characteristics of acute in-hospital rehabilitation and referral to post-acute care for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) across Europe.
Design: Survey study.
Methods: A 14-item survey about in-hospital rehabilitation and referral to post-acute care was sent to 71 neurotrauma centers participating in a European multicenter study (CENTER-TBI). The questionnaire was developed based on literature and expert opinion and was pilot-tested before sending out to the centers.
Results: 70 (99%) centers in 20 countries completed the survey. The included centers predominately were academic level I trauma centers. Among the 70 centers, a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team can be consulted at 41% (n = 29) of the ICUs and 49% (n = 34) of the wards. Only 13 (19%) centers used rehabilitation guideline in patients with TBI. Age was reported as a major determinant of referral decisions in 32 (46%) centers, with younger patients usually referred to specialized rehabilitation centers, and patients ≥ 65 years also referred to nursing homes or local hospitals.
Conclusion: Substantial variation exists in structural and process characteristics of in-hospital acute rehabilitation and referral to post-acute rehabilitation facilities among neurotrauma centers across Europe.