Discharges against medical advice (DAMA) have been considered predictors of adverse outcomes for patients in acute care and psychiatric hospitals. However, little is known about the profile of patients who discharge AMA admitted to rehabilitation hospitals. The aims of this study were to provide a profile of patients who received inpatient rehabilitation services following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) who discharged AMA and to compare this group with the regular discharge group.
Retrospective cohort study.
Hospital discharge data from two national administrative databases were reviewed for the years 2001-2006.
The databases yielded 1559 cases of TBI (average length of stay?=?51 days). Of these, 31 (2.0%) had recorded DAMA events: one in 50 patients left rehabilitation against medical advice. Compared to regular discharge (n?=?1247), DAMA was significantly associated with unemployment, intentional injury, higher motor functions at admission and shorter length of stay. Known factors for DAMA in acute hospitals, such as male sex, young age and substance abuse history, were not significant.
Careful screening and assessment of patients who discharge AMA could enable better prevention and management strategies, thus improving health outcomes and enhancing healthcare delivery.