Improving value in primary total joint arthroplasty care pathways: changes in inpatient physical therapy staffing

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Abstract

Background An early physical therapy (PT) care pathway was implemented to provide same-day ambulation after total joint arthroplasty by changing PT staffing hours. Methods After receiving an exemption from our institutional review board, we performed a secondary data analysis on a cohort of patients that underwent primary TJA of the hip or knee 6 months before and 12 months after implementation of the change. Data on same-day ambulation rates, length of stay (LOS), and in-hospital costs were reviewed. Results Early evaluation and mobilization of patients by PT improved on postoperative day (POD) 0 from 64% to 85% after the change (P ≤ .001). The median LOS before the change was 3.27 days compared to 3.23 days after the change (P = .014). Patients with higher American Society of Anesthesiologists scores were less likely to ambulate on POD 0 (P = .038) and had longer hospital stays (P < .001). Early mobilization in the entire cohort was associated with a greater cost savings (P < .001). Conclusions A relatively simple change to staffing hours, using resources currently available to us, and little additional financial or institutional investment resulted in a significant improvement in the number of patients ambulating on POD 0, with a modest reduction in both LOS and inpatient costs.

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Pelt, C. E., Anderson, M. B., Pendleton, R., Foulks, M., Peters, C. L., & Gililland, J. M. (2017). Improving value in primary total joint arthroplasty care pathways: changes in inpatient physical therapy staffing. Arthroplasty Today, 3(1), 45–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.artd.2016.02.003

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