In adults undergoing inpatient rehabilitation, does additional after-hours rehabilitation decrease length of stay and improve functional outcome, activities of daily living performance and physical activity? This was a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomised trials. Additional rehabilitation provided after hours (evening or weekend) was provided to the participants of these studies. Function was measured with tests such as the Motor Assessment Scale, 10-m walk test, the Timed Up and Go test, and Berg Balance Scale. Performance on activities of daily living was measured with the Barthel index or the Functional Independence Measure were all outcome measures used within the studies included. Length of stay was measured in days. Physical activity levels were measured as number of steps or time spent upright. Standardised mean differences (SMD) or mean differences (MD) were used to combine these outcomes. Adverse events were summarised using relative risks (RR). Study quality was assessed using PEDro scores. Seven trials were included in the review. All trials had strong methodological quality, scoring 8/10 on the PEDro scale. Among the measures of function, only balance showed a significant effect: the MD was 14 points better (95% CI 5 to 23) with additional after-hours rehabilitation on a 0-to-56-point scale. The improvement in activities of daily living performance with additional after-hours rehabilitation was of borderline statistical significance (SMD 0.10, 95% CI 0.00 to 0.21). Hospital length of stay did not differ significantly (MD -1.8 days, 95% CI -5.1 to 1.6). Those receiving additional rehabilitation had significantly higher step counts and spent significantly more time upright. Overall, the risk of adverse events was not increased by the provision of after-hours or weekend rehabilitation (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.10).
Additional after-hours rehabilitation can increase physical activity and may improve activities of daily living, but does not seem to affect the hospital length of stay.