How Increased Therapy Can Benefit Hip Fracture Patients

walking with walkerIf you’ve ever had a broken bone, you know it seems to take forever to heal. Hip fractures are even worse — they usually require recovery time in skilled nursing facilities. While there, patients receive the rest and physical therapy they need to get back on their feet. But certain physical therapy limitations might be infringing on nursing home patient rights.

Caregivers have long assumed that beyond a baseline level, adding more therapy doesn’t improve outcomes. And the Affordable Care Act reinforces that idea. As the ACA puts more scrutiny on billing, nursing homes are attempting to avoid the appearance of exploitation by prescribing only the minimum level of therapy.

But for the first time, a new study in Physical Therapy challenges those ideas. The study found that hip fracture patients who receive just one extra hour of therapy per week are 3.1 percent more likely to successfully leave the hospital.

Researchers from Cornell, Brown, and Harvard universities conducted the study. Together they hope to encourage legislators to think twice before cutting therapy services. The authors agree that it’s good to reduce the costs of post-acute care. But they say it’s critical to to base policy changes on strong evidence.

As an advocate for nursing home patient rights, I feel encouraged by these findings. Learn more about the research on the Cornell website.

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