Study: Higher intensity therapy improves lengths of stay, outcomes

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Researchers say that shorter lengths of stay and better outcomes will result from more intense periods of various kinds of therapy. They studied nearly 5,000 patients with strokes, orthopedic and cardiovascular/pulmonary conditions in 70 different skilled-nursing facilities nationwide to reach their conclusions.

Study results, which can be found in the March issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, pertain to occupational, speech and physical therapies, not just physical therapy, as a Daily Update item reported last week.

Residents given 1 to 1.5 hours of therapy a day had shorter lengths of stay than residents getting less than 1 hour per day over a seven-day period.

The study helps establish the minimal therapy required for optimal results at 1.75 hours per day for a 5-day model and 1.5 hours of therapy for a six-day therapy model, said the study's authors, Dr. Reg Warren of Nashville-based SeniorMetrix, a leader in predictive patient modeling, and Dr. Diane Jette of Simmons College in Boston.