Man holding small dumbbell receiving physical therapy from therapist

Most patients in post-acute care settings reap functional benefits and see reduced rehospitalizations from physical therapy and occupational therapy, according to a new study across 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries.

The research, commissioned by the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association, used newly published data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that was collected from January 2015 through December 2016.

Key findings of the “Therapy Outcomes in Post-Acute Care Settings” study:

  • Physical and occupational therapy provided measurable value for rehabilitating core activities of daily living function and preventing the decline of ADL function in beneficiaries.
  • An increase in therapy intensity is positively correlated with increases in functional status measures following discharge from initial hospitalization.
  • Thirty-day readmission rates to acute care hospitals decreased after therapy, indicating that patients who receive physical and occupational therapies during their initial post-acute care episode also are more likely to have better outcomes, including survival, functional ability, quality of life and participation in daily life.
  • Intensive therapy stays in inpatient rehab facilities were associated with significant functional independence gains.
  • Residents in skilled nursing facilities had a positive relationship between therapy intensity and functional change. Some clinical conditions, such as joint replacement therapy for example, showed “clear increasing benefits” associated with greater therapy.

A detailed summary of the results can be found here.