BACKGROUND: Clinical course and outcome connected to rehabilitation after hip or knee arthroplasty have been studied extensively, but few studies have assessed the content of team rehabilitation care for these patients. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to provide a thorough description of the structure, process, and outcome of team rehabilitation care for patients with hip or knee arthroplasty for osteoarthritis. DESIGN: This was a multicenter, longitudinal observational study. METHODS: Patients (N=183) from 6 rehabilitation centers in Norway who were undergoing inpatient rehabilitation following hip or knee arthroplasty were included in the study. Structure and process components were recorded by participants and health care professionals in a patient diary. Participants also completed questionnaires regarding their experiences during their rehabilitation stay and recorded data for outcome measures at admission, at discharge, and 6 months after discharge. The main outcome measures were pain intensity and physical function, as assessed with the physical function scale of the Medical OUTCOMES: Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36). RESULTS: Data were complete for 172 participants (94%) at discharge and for 148 patients (81%) at the 6-month follow-up. Health care professionals, physical therapists, nurses, and physicians were most often involved in team care. Occupational therapists, social workers, and psychologists were seldom part of the rehabilitation team. Exercises provided by physical therapists were the most common treatment modality. Patient education, massage, and manual therapy also frequently were provided. The participants were very satisfied with their care and its organization, information, and communication and with the availability of health care professionals. They were moderately satisfied with the social environment of the rehabilitation setting. The participants had large improvements in the outcome measures during the rehabilitation stay and at the 6-month follow-up. LIMITATIONS: For typical physical therapy modalities such as exercises, electrotherapy, and acupuncture, there are limited descriptions and assessments of treatment doses. CONCLUSIONS: Current team rehabilitation care involves a traditional team with physical therapists, nurses, and physicians. Several types of treatment modalities are used, with greatest emphasis on physical training. This detailed description of current team rehabilitation practice might help clinicians and researchers in planning clinical trials within a rehabilitation setting, as well as in improving rehabilitation practice.
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