COVID-19 rehabilitation units are twice as expensive as regular rehabilitation units

Sandro Iannaccone, Federica Alemanno, Elise Houdayer, Luigia Brugliera, Paola Castellazzi, Domenico Cianflone, Carlo Meloni, Alberto Ambrosio, Pietro Mortini, Alfio Spina, Massimo Filippi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant motor, cognitive, psychological, neurological and cardiological disabilities in many infected patients. Functional rehabilitation of infectious COVID-19 patients has been implemented in the acute care wards and in appropriate, ad hoc, multidisciplinary COVID-19 rehabilitation units. However, because COVID-19 rehabilitation units are a clinical novelty, clinical and organizational benchmarks are not yet available. The aim of this study is to describe the organizational needs and operational costs of such a unit, by comparing its activity, organization, and costs with 2 other functional rehabilitation units, in San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy. METHODS: The 2-month activity of the COVID-19 Rehabilitation Unit at San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy, which was created in response to the emergency need for rehabilitation of COVID-19 patients, was compared with the previous year's activity of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Motor Rehabilitation Units of the same institute. RESULTS: The COVID-19 Rehabilitation Unit had the same number of care beds as the other units, but required twice the amount of staff and instrumental equipment, leading to a deficit in costs. DISCUSSION: The COVID-19 Rehabilitation Unit was twice as expensive as the 2 other units studied. World health systems are organizing to respond to the pandemic by expanding capacity in acute intensive care and sub-intensive care units. This study shows that COVID-19 rehabilitation units must be organized and equiped according to the clinical and rehabilitative needs of patients, following specific measures to prevent the spread of infection amongs patients and workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)jrm00073
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 30 2020


  • clinical organization
  • COVID-19
  • pandemic
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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