Physical therapy at home improves Medicare patients' recovery after TKA: 3 study notes

Shayna Korol -   Print  |

Medicare beneficiaries who received more physical therapy services at home after total knee arthroplasty had greater functional rehabilitation outcomes, according to a study in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Researchers analyzed home healthcare claims data of 5,967 Medicare patients who underwent TKA in 2012 and received postoperative rehabilitation services at home. 

Here are three study findings:

1. Low home healthcare physical therapy utilization — receiving five or fewer visits — was associated with worse recovery in activities of daily living after TKA.This held true after controlling for medical complexity, baseline function and home healthcare episode duration.

2. Medicare recipients who utilized six to nine visits had a 25 percent greater improvement in ADLs; patients who received 10 to 13 visits had a 40 percent greater improvement, and beneficiaries who received 14 or more visits had a 50 percent greater improvement. 

3. Study authors noted patients served by rural agencies or who have higher medical complexity receive fewer physical therapy visits postoperatively and may need closer monitoring for optional recovery. 

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