BACKGROUND: Pre-discharge home visits aim to maximise independence in the community. These visits involve assessment of a person in their own home prior to discharge from hospital, typically by an occupational therapist. The therapist may provide equipment, adapt the home environment and/or provide education. The aims of this study were to investigate the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial in a clinical setting and the effect of pre-discharge home visits on functional performance in older people undergoing rehabilitation. METHODS: Ten patients participating in an inpatient rehabilitation program were randomly assigned to receive either a pre-discharge home visit (intervention), or standard practice in-hospital assessment and education (control), both conducted by an occupational therapist. The pre-discharge home visit involved assessment of the older person's function and environment, and education, and took an average of 1.5 hours. The hospital-based interview took an average of 40 minutes. Outcome data were collected by a blinded assessor at 0, 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Outcomes included performance of activities of daily living, reintegration to community living, quality of life, readmission and fall rates. RESULTS: Recruitment of 10 participants was slow and took three months. Observed performance of functional abilities did not differ between groups due to the small sample size. Difference in activities of daily living participation, as recorded by the Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living scale, was statistically significant but wide confidence intervals and low statistical power limit interpretation of results. CONCLUSION: Evaluation of pre-discharge home visits by occupational therapists in a rehabilitation setting is feasible, but a more effective recruitment strategy for a main study is favored by application of a multi-centre setting.