Higher Physiotherapy Frequency Is Associated with Shorter Length of Stay and Greater Functional Recovery in Hospitalized Frail Older Adults: A Retrospective Observational Study.
Extra physiotherapy has been associated with better outcomes in hospitalized patients, but this remains an under-researched area in geriatric medicine wards. We retrospectively studied the association between average physiotherapy frequency and outcomes in hospitalized geriatric patients. High frequency physiotherapy (HFP) was defined as ≥0.5 contacts/day. Of 358 eligible patients, 131 (36.6%) received low, and 227 (63.4%) HFP. Functional improvement (discharge versus admission) in the modified Rankin scale was greater in the HFP group (1.1 versus 0.7 points, P<0.001). The mean length of stay (LOS) of the HFP group was 6 days shorter (7 versus 13 days, P<0.001). After adjusting for age, gender, comorbidity (Charlson index), frailty (Clinical Frailty Scale), dementia and acute illness severity, HFP was an independent predictor of functional improvement, shorter LOS and likelihood of being discharged without a formal care package. Prospective research is needed to examine the effect of physiotherapy frequency and intensity in geriatric wards.