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Physical therapy in the intensive care unit benefits hospital's bottom line
Date:1/11/2013

days, while the time spent by those same patients as they transitioned to less-intensive hospital units fell 18 percent. Using their financial model, the authors estimated a net cost saving for the hospital of about $818,000 per year, even after factoring in the up-front costs.

The researchers then analyzed the potential impact of early rehabilitation services in 24 different scenarios, accounting for variations in the number of ICU admissions, cost savings per day and reductions in length of stay.

"We were very conservative in creating the financial model to avoid overstating the potential net cost savings," says Robert Lord, A.B., lead author of the study. "We found that in 20 out of the 24 scenarios, hospitals would have an overall cost savings by providing early rehabilitation to their intensive care unit patients, and in the four remaining scenarios, using the most conservative assumptions, there was a modest net cost increase of up to $88,000 per year," adds Lord.

Needham says their financial model can serve as a resource for hospitals throughout the United States to estimate their own net cost impact for providing early physical rehabilitation to ICU patients. He says length of stay is the biggest driver of cost to a hospital, which typically gets paid a fixed amount for caring for patients with specific diagnoses.

"The bottom line is that early rehabilitation in the ICU helps patients play an active role in their recovery and can make a big difference in their quality of life when they leave the hospital," says Needham. "More patients are surviving their ICU stay than ever before, yet many lose muscle strength during treatment for a critical illness because of long periods of bed rest." Early rehabilitation therapy, he says, can prevent muscle weakness that impairs patients' ability to care for themselves after hospital discharge.

The researchers conclude that with their conservative projections, investment
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Contact: Ellen Beth Levitt
eblevitt@jhmi.edu
410-955-5307
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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