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  • Study: System Review Confirms Physical Therapy Benefits for Parkinson Disease

    Physical therapy improved short-term functional ability or minimized secondary complications for patients with Parkinson disease (PD), based on a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of intervention versus no intervention in patients with PD.

    Researchers for the study, published ahead of print this week by Cochrane Database System Review, reported that the benefit was significant for speed, 2- or 6-minute walk test, Freezing of Gait questionnaire, Timed Up & Go test, Functional Reach test, Berg Balance Scale, and clinician-rated UPDRS.

    Most of any observed differences between treatments were small, the researchers said, noting that these conclusions were based on indirect comparisons of the studies chosen for the review. A consensus menu of "best practice" physical therapy is needed, they concluded, as are large RCTs to demonstrate longer-term efficacy and cost-effectiveness of physical therapy interventions for PD.

    The review identified 39 trials with 1827 participants, published up to the end of January 2012. Trials were classified into the following intervention comparisons: general physiotherapy, exercise, treadmill training, cueing, dance, and martial arts. The researchers used tests for heterogeneity to assess for differences in treatment effect across the different interventions.

    Look for the full text of this study in APTA's Open Door and PTNow in about 6-8 weeks.

    Joint Commission Wants Your Comments on Optional Memory Care Certification

    The Joint Commission's proposed standards for an optional memory care certification within the nursing and rehabilitation center accreditation program are out for field review, and your comments can help shape final standards. Comments are due October 16, 2013.

    The Joint Commission emphasizes that these optional certification requirements would be in addition to the accreditation requirements that will apply to all Joint Commission-accredited long-term care organizations. While accreditation requirements address the prevalence of dementia in nursing homes, says the Joint Commission, the optional certification will recognize organizations for their dementia care specialization, particularly for organizations providing specialized dementia care in a distinct unit or area. Key areas that distinguish the memory care optional certification requirements from the accreditation requirements include the role of the coordinator, staff education and training, feature of the physical environment, and activity programming.

    To comment, follow the instructions on the standard field reviews page—download and review the proposal, then submit comments by October 16 via an online survey, an online form, or e-mail to the Joint Commission. Direct any questions you have to Jennifer Tarpey, Department of Standards and Survey Methods, 630/792-5919 or jtarpey@jointcommission.org.

    New APTA Resources Focus on Physician Self-Referral

    Activity on physician self-referral, in particular efforts regarding the exceptions to the
    in-office ancillary services (IOAS) exception to the Stark self-referral laws, has ramped up this year, and APTA has new online resources to help members understand federal self-referral efforts and get involved.

    New on APTA's Self-Referral webpage:

    • "Take AIM" video alert features APTA President Paul Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS.
    • Prezi presentation visually walks you through the issue.
    • "Self-Referral 101" takes a more textual approach to explaining the issue.

    You’ll also find APTA's position paper on self-referral, news items, and links to the Government Accountability Office reports that implicate financial incentive in physical self-referrals to prostate cancer radiation therapy, advanced imaging, and anatomic pathology services. (A fourth report, on self-referral in physical therapy, is due this fall and will be posted here as well.)