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  • New Podcasts Address Physical Therapy and the Role of Hospice and Palliative Care

    Two new APTA podcasts provide guidance to physical therapists (PTs) regarding the distinct approaches of hospice and palliative care services and the role that physical therapy plays in treating  individuals in those situations.      

    The first podcast clarifies the 2 terms "hospice" and "palliative" based on Medicare's conditions of participation guidance published June 5, 2008, in the Federal Register. It also highlights APTA's position The Role of Physical Therapy in Hospice and Palliative Care, which was adopted by the 2011 House of Delegates. 

    In the second podcast, Chris Wilson, PT, DPT, GCS, describes how patients in acute care can experience rapid changes in the ability to perform activities of daily living and why regular monitoring and intervention by PTs may be required. Wilson, who provides acute care physical therapy service in the Hospice and Oncology Unit and outpatient oncology services at Beaumont Health System near Detroit, Michigan, also explains the role PTs may play in determining when less-aggressive measures, such as hospice or palliative care, may be appropriate for patients. Additionally, he addresses the need for PTs to consider the big picture and respect a patient's autonomous decision to decide what care is best—particularly when a patient opts to come off hospice care in order to qualify for a nursing home stay or rehabilitate to improve his or her strength to be able to return home.

    Find more information on this topic on APTA's Hospice and Palliative Care webpage.

    New Resource Shows Value of Physical Therapy in the Emergency Department

    Several leading primary emergency department (ED) diagnoses have the potential for physical therapy triage and possible treatment, according to a new APTA resource that members can use with facility administrators or ED staff to illustrate the value of physical therapy in the ED. Developed by the member experts who created the Incorporating Physical Therapist Practice in the ED: A Toolkit for Practitioners, this new PowerPoint outlines recent ED trends, potential benefits of having physical therapists (PTs) in the ED, and how ED PTs can improve patient satisfaction and patient function and outcomes.   

    APTA members can download the PowerPoint and tailor it for their specific presentation needs.  Find the Value of Physical Therapy in the ED PowerPoint and other resources on APTA's Physical Therapist Practice in the Emergency Department webpage.

    Few Patients Seek Care at Retail Clinics for Chronic Conditions

    "Despite the controversy over the entry of retail clinics into chronic disease management," say authors of a new study published online in Health Affairs, less than 1% of visits through 2009 were for chronic disease care.

    The number of patient visits to retail clinics grew from 1.48 million in 2006 to 5.97 million in 2009. Preventive care—in particular, the influenza vaccine—was a larger component of care for patients at retail clinics in 2007-2009, compared with patients in 2000-2006 (47.5% versus 21.8%). Across all retail clinic visits, 44.4% of visits in 2007-2009 were on the weekend or during weekday hours when physician offices are typically closed.

    From 2000-2006 to 2007-2009, the proportion of retail visits made by children under age 18 decreased, from 26.8% to 22.2%, while the proportion of visits made by those 65 or older increased, from 7.5% to 14.7%. In both study periods, 30%-40% of the patients who visited a retail clinic paid for their care out of pocket and reported having a primary care physician.

    Acute care visits made up a smaller proportion of overall visits in 2007-2009 than in 2000-2006. The same 9 conditions accounted for the vast majority of acute care visits in both time periods. The distribution of acute and preventive care visits was similar for children and adults under age 65.

    The authors say that the "rapid growth of retail clinics makes it clear that they are meeting patients' needs." They believe that the chief drivers are convenience, after-hours accessibility, and cost effectiveness.