Article By:  PT in Motion, www.apta.org

Patients with low back pain (LBP) who see a single physical therapist (PT) throughout their episode of care may be less likely to receive surgery and may have lower downstream health care costs, researchers suggest in a study published in the December issue of PTJ (Physical Therapy). “Limiting the number of physical therapy providers during an episode of care might permit cost savings,” authors write. “Health care systems could find this opportunity appealing, as physical therapy provider continuity is a modifiable clinical practice pattern.”

Authors examined data from nearly 2,000 patients in Utah’s statewide All Payer Claims Database (APCD) to look for associations between continuity of care for LBP patients and utilization of related services such as advanced imaging, emergency department visits, epidural steroid injections, and lumbar spine surgery in the year after the first primary care visit for LBP. APTA members John Magel, PT, PhD; Anne Thackeray, PT; and Julie Fritz, PT, PhD, FAPTA, were among the authors of the study.

Patients were between the ages of 18 to 64 who saw a PT within 30 days of a primary care visit for LBP. Researchers excluded patients with certain nonmusculoskeletal conditions; neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injury, that could affect patient management; and “red flag” conditions such as bone deficit or cauda equina syndrome.

Researchers found that greater provider continuity significantly decreased the likelihood of receiving subsequent lumbar spine surgery, noting that “disparate management strategies across a variety of providers might inhibit or prolong the recovery in a patient with a worsening condition and contribute to the patient eventually receiving lumbar surgical intervention.” They also note that a strong therapeutic alliance is associated with improved outcomes.

Contrary to authors’ expectations, high provider continuity was not associated with decreased use of advanced imaging, steroid injections, or emergency department visits. “The timing of physical therapy for LBP might have a greater impact on these outcomes than does provider continuity,” they suggest. Researchers did find a link between use of these services and the presence of comorbidities, previous lumbar surgery, and use of prescription opioids or oral steroids.

The average cost of care in the year following the initial primary care visit was $1,826 per patient. Costs were slightly less, at $1,737, for the 90% of patients with high provider continuity but rose to $2,577 for patients with a lower level of provider continuity.

While the study’s findings do not identify any cause-and-effect relationships, “it seems reasonable that physical therapists should consider approaches to managing patients with LBP that limit provider discontinuity,” authors write.

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Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

HTS is excited to collaborate with our partners for a successful transition to the new Medicare payment model. Our ongoing focus on clinical quality, patient-centered programs, and functional outcomes has prepared our staff in advance to succeed under PDPM. In addition to implementing proprietary clinical program efficacy analysis, HTS has assessed the financial impact of PDPM and is committed to supporting our partners through the challenges of adapting to the new reimbursement model.

HTS will be providing PDPM solutions that include:

  • Staff Education and Training in Critical Areas such as Section GG and ICD.10 Coding
  • PDPM Live Trainings for Partners and Staff in Multiple Locations
  • Internal System Transitions
  • RUGs IV to PDPM Facility-specific Impact Analysis

Our alliance with Proactive Medical Review, the PDPM experts currently providing education on this topic to 25 states, allows us to uniquely provide our partners with additional support for strategic planning, MDS coding efficacy, and nursing best practices.

Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) training dates:

  • Friday, September 21 – Evansville, IN
  • Thursday, October 4 – Fort Wayne, IN
  • Thursday, October 11 – Louisville, KY
  • Tuesday, October 16 – Greenwood, IN
  • Tuesday, October 23 – Kokomo, IN
  • Friday, November 9 – Edmonton, KY
  • Thursday November 15—Phelps, KY

We remain optimistic considering the enormous changes we are facing with this new payment model. As partners in therapy, you can be confident in our resources and unmatched expertise to navigate this change while working together toward a successful transition.

If you have any questions at all about this information, please contact us directly.

National Physical Therapy Month is a celebration held each October by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). PT month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapists are movement experts who can help you overcome pain, gain and maintain movement, and preserve your independence, often without the need for surgery or long-term use of prescription drugs. Physical therapy is a cost-effective treatment that allows patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs.

Goals of physical therapy include:

  • Restore physical function
  • Improve the ability to ambulate
  • Strengthen the body affected by injury/illness
  • Reduce pain and inflammation
  • Education and prevention

We offer comprehensive rehabilitation services including physical, occupational and speech therapy. Our therapists are experts in treating conditions affecting adults ages 50+. Therapy is a cost-effective treatment that allows patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs to regain function and independence for a better quality of life.

For more information, contact www.htstherapy.com.

 


October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapy Month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapy may be necessary for those recovering after an illness, a fall, injury, surgery or chronic condition. Physical therapists work hard to help patients retain and regain their quality of life.

 


Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!

 

Resource: APTA, www.apta.org

During a lifetime, the human body is always undergoing many visible and invisible changes. As we grow older, we are constantly reinventing ourselves on a physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional level. While most people become stronger spiritually and emotionally, due to the experiences they have accumulated, throughout the years their bodies start to lose their strength.

Some individuals age beautifully and manage to stay alert and active throughout their entire lives. They invest their spare time in fun activities, such as yoga or jogging, which keep them active and healthy in the long run. On the other hand, some experience the symptoms of osteoarthritis and other age-related health concerns, which stop them from getting involved in engaging outdoor activities that would otherwise do wonders for the body, mind, and spirit. Read more

The goal of rehabilitation is to help an individual heal physically and mentally and achieve their highest level of independence possible. Physical Therapists (PT), Occupational Therapists (OT), and Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) all work together to help individuals overcome obstacles and accomplish normal tasks of daily living. These therapists work on an individual level, which is beneficial for a range of conditions/diseases, ages and abilities. Read more

Thanks to today’s quality post cardiac rehabilitation programs, these days more and more people manage to survive severe heart problems that often cause millions of fatalities worldwide.  This quality care allows cardiac patients to avoid further complications and make positive changes to enhance their life expectancy and improve their overall heart health. Read more

Understanding Stroke Risk

According to the numbers provided by the American Stroke Association, someone in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds. The fact that strokes are often ignored or mishandled is just as disturbing. Read more

Healthy bones are an invaluable asset at any age, allowing individuals to move freely, conduct daily tasks at a normal pace, embrace healthy, active lifestyles and avoid pain and discomfort like the ones caused by osteoporosis. Read more

Thinking of Working in Post Acute Rehabilitation? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

If you’re geared towards the post acute care field of work, then you have a world of opportunities available at your fingertips. It’s a bright and promising career that has been proven to have stronger growth and faster hire rates than many other fields of industry. An overwhelming majority of the graduates in this field report that they obtain their first preferred choice of job within 3 months of their graduation. In this current economy, those numbers are almost unheard of.
Post acute rehabilitation is all about becoming redundant, as odd as that may sound. The job of a post acute care worker is to be no longer needed as you move the patient from a severe injury, illness, or surgery to being back on their feet at home. This job could take a few days or several months, depending on the level of care needed. If you’re considering a position in this field, here are the relevant facts you need to know about this noble and worthwhile profession.

Post Acute Care Covers all Major Therapy

In the role of transitional care, your job is to move someone to being fully functional after a serious life event hampers their ability to do so. It’s not about just regaining motor skills. A fully licensed and certified post acute rehab worker concentrates on the patient’s entire wellness from mind, body, and soul. This covers all three of the major fields of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

Physical Therapy – You might perceive all post acute care workers as specializing in this field because a lot of the work done revolves around getting the patient back up to full mobility. Physical therapy is all about getting the patient back to an independent state after their illness or injury has compromised their movements. The care worker focuses on providing their patient with the exercises and treatments that they need to get back to normal movement. They work to help regain the patient’s strength, flexibility, balance, and most of all, confidence.

Occupational Therapy – After working through an injury or surgery, some occupational therapy might be needed to get the patient back to performing their normal daily duties with independence. The care worker would provide this therapy so that the patient can dress themselves, bathe, prepare meals, and perform light house duties. This goes beyond physical therapy where mobility is the key. Occupational therapy works on the finely-tuned motor movements to perform specialized tasks. In some fooball match predictions cases, an injury leaves a patient without the ability to do a task, so a post acute care worker teaches compensation techniques and ways to alter the environment around them.

Speech Therapy – Post acute care occasionally gets into speech therapy. Stroke victims are often in need of speech therapy after a severe stroke limits their communication. Many disorders can lead to a loss of speech and a post acute care worker must evaluate and treat the conditions that each disorder displays.

Post Acute Care Can Be in Any Location

Rehabilitation serves the patient, not the provider. This is the reason that many post acute care workers are providing their services in a variety of locations. This could be in the hospital after a serious injury or surgery, in a skilled nursing facility (SNF), a long term acute care center (LTAC), or even in the home.
Hospital – For patients that need care straight after a debilitating illness, a hospital care worker is convenient and immediate. Care can begin right after the treatment is concluded. It’s worth noting that although care begins in the hospital, rarely does the full treatment of post acute care be given there.

Skilled Nursing Facility – A typical SNF is attached to a hospital to continue the treatment on a longer-term basis. The care providers in a skilled nursing facility treat a variety of hospital-related medical conditions. They provide a round-the-clock care that meets all needs, not just post acute rehab.

Long-term Acute Care – A LTAC is a center for those required a post acute care that extends for at least 30 days. If the treatment needed will be ongoing and intense, it’s a good place to consider as they focus on only post acute care for long term patients. There is no accommodation for short-term patients however.

Home – For many Post acute rehabilitation workers, this is the ideal venue. In a field that focuses on the patient’s entire wellness, the home is the safest and most reliable place to achieve long-term success. It keeps the patient comfortable and improves their response to treatment and rehabilitation. It also allows the care giver to deal with the patient in the environment they need to adapt to. If there are stairs in the home, the care provider provides physical therapy to use the stairs. If they have high cupboards, the therapy is about reaching up to the cupboards. Working within in the home provides the patient with the incentive to get better sooner.

For the potential post acute care worker, this field has a verity of choices and environments. If you seek to offer a particular type of therapy such as occupational therapy, your choice of post acute care can be as an independent worker in a home or as a staff member in a long-term acute center. If you want to work with a team of therapists all focuses on providing wellness in a skilled nursing facility, you can choose a field of speech therapy or physical therapy. Working in post acute care, your job is to be more than just a nurse or a therapist, but a mentor for the depressed, a coach for the uninspired, and a friend for the lonely.

If you’re considering a role in this field, contact the team at HTS Therapy, the specialists in contract therapy across all fields. They can help advise you in the role you seek to find.

Therapy Plays a Vital Role in Post-Acute Care

The word “acute” in the medical sense means that a disease or illness is sudden or has a short duration. Post-acute care may be indicated for diseases, surgeries, and injuries that dramatically affect a person’s way of life. Therapy is one important modality to consider for post-acute care patients. It can often be vital for patients to cope with symptoms, learn a new way of living and return to full health.

Therapy Treats the Whole Person

Therapy addresses the patient as a whole person. Therapists care deeply about the concept of wellness, not just health. A common phrase among occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs) is: “Deal with reality on reality’s terms.” This means that there is an ideal place of full health, but not everyone can get there. This is where wellness plays an important role. Medical providers prescribe pills and ointments to treat a patient’s illness or condition. Therapists deal with all manifestations of the patient’s condition, as varied as they can be.

  • Physical Wellness – Of course, many of the problems patients face is a lack of complete mobility, or dealing with the loss of an action or an entire body part. Therapists deal with this by developing new techniques for the patients to use to compensate for their loss of mobility. Therapists also work with post-acute care patients by relearning physical skills to deal with daily life.
  • Emotional Wellness – Dealing with any disease is tough, even more so when it’s debilitating, embarrassing or life-altering. It’s not just awkward or inconvenient dealing with incontinence after a particular tough battle with prostate cancer; it’s humiliating as well. Therapy treats the emotional scarring and behavioral issues that happen during post-acute care. Without it, a patient can’t fully cope with their new mode of living.
  • Spiritual Wellness – This isn’t some new-aged concept; therapy attempts to address the deep-seated issues spiritual struggles with acceptance. A vital part of dealing with and healing from a new condition is to learn to accept it. Spiritual wellness develops a peace and harmony about a patient’s life.

The wellness chart also consists of social, intellectual, occupational and environmental hubs. Therapy addresses the entirety of a condition by treating each of these aspects. Whereas a doctor or caregiver might prescribe medication, wellness involves a much more complete picture of the patient and treats them as such.

Therapy in Post-Acute Care

Within the framework of therapy, there are different needs for different patients. These are the most common types of care that are offered at post-acute care centers or skilled nursing facilities.

Occupational Therapy – The goal of an OT is to give the patient the tools and techniques to return to normal function of everyday life. Within post-acute care, occupational therapy attempts to focus on highly-specific tasks directly affected by the condition. This could be: learning medication management after a surgery, or relearning how to dress, bathe, prepare meals, and perform light housekeeping duties. This short-term therapy is about getting patients to become independent so they can rely on themselves rather than a therapist.

Physical Therapy – Sometimes, a surgery or illness causes physical changes to a patient’s body. After a hip replacement, a physical therapist provides post-acute care during the recovery to develop specific muscles so patients regain the ability to walk. Physical therapists strengthen and target the movements that can no longer be performed normally. They also prescribe exercise so that the patient can become independent and self-reliant.

Speech Therapy – This may be indicated for patients with some sort of head or neck cancer or the rapid onset of a neurological disease. The speech, cognition, swallowing or motor movements of the mouth can be greatly affected. Speech therapy seeks to restore function to all these areas. It exists to bring back that original movement within the mouth. Words are the literal sharing of ideas and thoughts so the lack of words can greatly hamper a patient’s moods and ability to heal. With therapy, patients can restore their ability to communicate effectively, even if it is different than before.

Therapy’s Role in Recovery

Therapy provides patients with care in every aspect of their life.  Rehabilitation is an important and critical part of the recovery process.  For most patients, a post-acute care stay lasts from 20-30 days depending on the patient’s diagnosis and tolerance for therapy. It’s short-term care that’s designed to transition patients out of medical facilities and back into the home. There is no other solution that is as complete and whole as therapy for making this outcome possible.

For the most part, post-acute care is done in a skilled nursing facility or a long-term acute center (LTAC). Many patients, with the correct therapy, move back into their homes and lead normal lives within a few weeks to months. Therapy can continue in the home as patients work towards a complete restoration of their health and wellbeing.

HTS provides therapy services to skilled nursing facilities, extended care, hospitals, assisted living and continuing care retirement communities across the Midwest and Southern States.   We are a trusted authority on post-acute care rehabilitation and keep our clients informed, compliant and positioned as leaders in their industry.   Partner with HTS today!