Predicting Posthospital Recovery of Physical Function Among Older Adults After Lower Extremity Surgery in a Short-Stay Skilled Nursing Facility


  • Jia Lee PhD RN,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Jia Lee, PhD RN, is an assistant professor at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea.

  • Patricia A. Higgins PhD R

    Associate ProfessorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Patricia A. Higgins, PhD RN, is an associate professor at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.


This study describes the posthospital recovery of physical function among 131 older adults after lower extremity surgery in a short-stay skilled nursing facility (SNF), and identifies admission factors predicting physical function at discharge. Multiple regression analyses found that older adults with low baseline physical function, pressure ulcer, malnutrition, memory loss upon admission, and not enough physical therapy had poor physical function at the time of discharge from the facility. This study generated the following recommendations for nurses working in short-stay SNFs: (1) screen all posthospital residents at admission with predictors to identify people at risk for physical functional decline, (2) design and implement targeted nursing and rehabilitation interventions to improve physical function, and (3) develop discharge plans that provide ongoing monitoring and interventions for community or nursing home nurses.