An analysis of 9,400 patients transferred from an acute care hospital to an inpatient rehabilitation facility revealed that a standard test of functional abilities was a good predictor of which patients might need to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.

“The Functional Independence Measure score is a direct reflection of a patient’s ability to heal,” said Erik Hoyer, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “When a person cannot move his or her legs or use the bathroom independently, for example, it’s telling us something about the body’s physiologic reserve, its overall ability to be resilient to disease.”

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