Why do some patients need more PT than others?
Why does a therapist’s treatment duration vary for patients with the same diagnosis?
What conditions have the most impact on patient recovery?
Thanks to WCRI’s Vennela Thumula PharmD; Randall Lea MD; and Te-Chun Liu there are answers.
The methodology is robust indeed, the data solid as it gets, and the insights provided by the researchers quite valuable.
Using FOTO’s 100 point scale, their research indicates patients with both physical health and mental health comorbidities see about 20% less improvement in functional status than patients with no comorbidities.
Co-morbidities – aka health conditions a patient has in addition to the one you’re focused on – may be physical – think obesity, hypertension, arthritis – or mental – depression, anxiety/panic attacks, sleep dysfunction.
About two-thirds of patients have a physical or mental health comorbidity, and these comorbidities definitely affect the patient’s ability to recover.
The more comorbidities a patient has, the greater the impact on recovery.
More troubling still, the more likely these patient would have “very limited” function at the end of therapy.
The researchers also looked at the same metrics for non-work comp patients…and found comorbidities had similar if not more impact on recovery.
And…it isn’t just comorbidities.
Quicker access to PT had an even greater impact on recovery than physical or mental health complications. The details are on page 43 of the study. If you’re not a WCRI member, become one to get access to all their great work at no charge.
Non members will have to pony up a few bucks to learn more.
What does this mean for you?
Great research is really useful…use this to help injured workers get better faster.