Inpatient rehabilitation facilities may be a better post-acute option for stroke patients compared with skilled nursing facilities, according to a new study. 

University of Texas researchers found that IRF patients had greater improvements in physical mobility and self-care functions when compared to patients who were discharged to SNFs. 

Investigators said the decision-making process in selecting post-acute care services is “heavily influenced by non-clinical factors,” and the findings indicate the “need to carefully manage discharge to post-acute care based on the patient’s needs and potential for recovery.” 

The investigation included 99,185 stroke patients who received post-acute care services at a SNF or IRF between Jan. 2013 and Nov. 2014. Researchers used Medicare claims data to compare the assessments.

The findings were published Wednesday in JAMA.