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Exploring variation in patient access of post-discharge physiotherapy following total hip and knee arthroplasty under a choice based system in the UK: an observational cohort study

20 Feb 2019

Objectives

To assess a targeted ‘therapy as required’ model of post-discharge outpatient physiotherapy provision. Specifically, we investigated what proportion of patients accessed post-discharge physiotherapy following total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA), whether accessing therapy was associated with post-arthroplasty patient reported outcomes and whether it was possible to predict which patients would access post-discharge physiotherapy from pre-operative data.

Design

Prospective, observational, longitudinal cohort study.

Setting

Single National Health Service orthopaedic teaching hospital in the UK.

Participants

1395 patients undergoing total hip arthroplasty and 1374 patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

Self-reported access of post-discharge physiotherapy, the Oxford Hip or Knee Score, EuroQol 5-dimension questionnaire and post-operative surgical episode satisfaction metric.

Results

662 (48.2%) patients with TKA and 493 (35.3%) patients with THA accessed additional post-discharge physiotherapy. Patient-reported outcomes (p<0.001) and surgical episode satisfaction (p=0.001) in both THA and TKA were higher in patients that did not participate in post-discharge physiotherapy. Regression models using pre-operative symptom burden and demographic data predicted post-discharge therapy access with an accuracy of only 17% greater than chance in patients with THA and 7% greater than chance in patients with TKA.

Conclusions

In a choice-based service model of ‘therapy as required’ following hip and knee arthroplasty only a third of THA and half of TKA patients accessed post-discharge therapy. Patients who did not access physiotherapy reported greater post-operative outcomes. This variation in the need for post-discharge physiotherapy suggests that targeting of rehabilitation may be a cost-effective model, however it was not possible to reliably predict which patients would access post-discharge physiotherapy from pre-operative data.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open