Monday, December 10, 2007

Physical therapy reduces hospital stays

Study finds physical therapy reduces hospital stays

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Respiratory-failure patients who got physical therapy within 48 hours of the insertion of a breathing tube reduced their hospital stays, a U.S. study found.

Study leader Dr. Peter Morris of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., said patients who received physical therapy had an average hospital stay reduction of three days, including more than one day in an intensive care unit.

Initial therapy, or passive range of motion therapy, was provided by nursing assistants, with their training designed and implemented by physical therapists, explained Morris. The nursing assistants flexed the joints of patients' upper and lower limbs three times a day, seven days a week. As patients progressed, they received more advanced physical therapy from a physical therapist, Morris said.

There also was no addition to total hospital costs because the salaries of the employees who provided the physical therapy were offset by reduced lengths of stay in the hospital, Morris said.

The findings were presented at a meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Chicago.

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