- To compare the characteristics of elderly patients hospitalized for rehabilitation following stroke with those following hip fracture (HF). A prospective study in a geriatrics department of a general university hospital in southern Israel. Five hundred and sixteen hospitalized elderly patients were included in the study, 221 following stroke and 295 following HF. The characteristics were compared by univariate and logistic regression analyses. The mean age (+/-SD) of the stroke patients was 71.7+/-7.8 years compared to 77.4+/-7.9 for HF (p < 0.000001). Fifty-three per cent of the stroke patients were women compared to 76% of the HF patients (p < 0.000001). Stroke patients had significantly lower levels of folic acid (p = 0.00002). HF patients had more hearing and visual impairments (p = 0.008 and p = 0.017, respectively), but these were related to age differences between the groups. The Folstein Minimental test result was significantly higher in the HF group (p = 0.002). There were no differences in the symptoms of depression score as measured by geriatric depression screening scale. The Functional Independent Measure scale showed a higher pre-event functional capacity among the stroke patients (p < 0.000001), but there was no difference in this scale on admission to rehabilitation or upon discharge. There is a difference in the nature of the stroke and HF events. When either event involves an elderly patient with a broad range of limitations and diseases, a new medical condition develops. In this condition the symptoms of depression and the functional state at admission and upon discharge are not significantly different between these groups of patients.