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  • Study: Physical Therapy Beneficial to Critically Ill Patients

    According to a new systematic review of the evidence base for exercise in critically ill patients, physical therapy in the ICU appears to confer significant benefit in improving quality of life, physical function, and peripheral and respiratory muscle strength; increasing ventilator-free days; and decreasing hospital and ICU stay.

    "It is apparent that survivors of critical illness experience poor physical, functional, and cognitive outcomes often lasting for years," said the authors of a paper published in Critical Care Medicine, noting that this condition, "post intensive care syndrome," and the related "intensive care unit acquired weakness" can result in major impacts on the health and productivity of survivors and caregivers, availability of hospital beds, and health care costs.

    "Early physical therapy in intensive care in increasingly recommended, and this review has found preliminary evidence that there are beneficial effects," the study said.

    The researchers analyzed 10 randomized control trials and 5 systematic reviews after identifying 3,126 abstracts (1980 through January 2012) from a keyword search using "critical care" and "physical therapy" and related synonyms. Overall there was a significant positive effect favoring physical therapy to improve quality of life (g = 0.40, 95% confidence interval 0.08, 0.71), physical function (g = 0.46, 95% confidence interval 0.13, 0.78), peripheral muscle strength (g = 0.27, 95% confidence interval 0.02, 0.52), and respiratory muscle strength (g = 0.51, 95% confidence interval 0.12, 0.89). Length of hospital stay (g = -0.34, 95% confidence interval -0.53, -0.15) and ICU stay (g = -0.34, 95% confidence interval -0.51, -0.18) significantly decreased, and ventilator-free days increased (g = 0.38, 95% confidence interval 0.16, 0.59) following physical therapy in the ICU, the study says.

    PT Investigating Interest in Network Focused on Rehab for People With Amputation

    Louise Tisdale, PT, a clinical specialist in the United Kingdom, is investigating whether there is sufficient interest to support a new World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) network focused on rehabilitation for people with amputation. WCPT networks provide a forum for the international exchange of ideas, experience, and expertise in physical therapy. If you want to give and gain support working on rehabilitating people with amputation around the world, or if you would like to develop relationships with international peers and share information about practice, research, clinical guidelines, and outcome measures, contact Tisdale.

    Healthy People 2020 Webinar: Social Determinants of Health

    Healthy People 2020 places a renewed emphasis on identifying, measuring, tracking, and reducing health disparities through a “social determinants of health” approach and its new Social Determinants of Health topic area and objectives. Join other health care professionals on Wednesday, April 24, 1:00 pm-2:30 pm, ET, for a webinar that will explore conditions in the social, physical, and economic environment in which people live and their related health outcomes. Presentations will include examples of communities that are addressing the social determinants of health to reduce health disparities. Register today.

    This webinar will feature representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.