Relationship Between Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Palliative Care Consultations, and Hospital Length of Stay

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Purpose:Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) treatment utilization in palliative care (PC) is not well documented. This study analyzed which hospitalized patients have received an order for a PC consultation and also received an order for PT or OT during that admission and described the patients most likely to have these services ordered.Methods:Palliative care orders were examined retrospectively for presence or absence of PT/OT orders in the context of primary PC diagnoses, age, and length of stay (LOS).Results:Of the 824 unique patients, 681 patients (83%) received at least 1 order for PT while 615 patients (75%) received at least 1 order for OT. Palliative care patients who received orders for PT and OT (9.7 days) and PT and/or OT (9.3 days) had a longer LOS (P < .0001) compared with those who did not receive either PT or OT (5.0 days).Conclusions:A large percentage of patients who received PC consultations also received PT and/or OT orders, and most of the time therapy was ordered before PC. On the basis of these findings, ordering providers may be consulting PT/OT to assist with discharge planning for medically complex patients with a longer anticipated LOS.

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