OT NEWS from the October 10, 2016 issue of OT Practice
An independent study by health policy researchers published in Medical Care Research and Review (https://doi.org/10.1177/1077558716666981) found that “occupational therapy is the only spending category where additional spending has a statistically significant association with lower readmission rates” for the three health conditions studied: heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction. Researchers Andrew Rogers, Ge Bai, and Gerard F. Anderson of Johns Hopkins University as well as Robert A. Levin of the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that that “occupational therapy places
a unique and immediate focus on patients’ functional and social needs, which can be important drivers of readmission if left unaddressed.” The researchers used Medicare claims and cost data to examine the association between hospital spending for specific services and 30-day admission rates for heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction. They evaluated 19 distinct spending categories, including occupational therapy, in 2,791 hospitals for the heart failure analysis; 2,818 hospitals for the pneumonia analysis; and 1,595 hospitals for the acute myocardial infarction analysis. The researchers cited six particular interventions provided by occupational therapists that could lower readmissions:
1. Provide recommendations and training for caregivers.
2. Determine whether patients can safely live independently, or require further rehabilitation or nursing care.
3. Address existing disabilities with assistive devices so patients can safely perform activities of daily living (e.g., using the bathroom, bathing, getting dressed, making a meal).
4. Perform home safety assessments before discharge to suggest modifications.
5. Assess cognition and the ability to physically manipulate things like medication containers, and provide training when necessary.
6. Work with physical therapists to increase the intensity of inpatient rehabilitation.
“The findings of this important study highlight just one of the many roles occupational therapy practitioners are playing in improving quality and reducing health care costs,” said AOTA Executive Director Fred Somers. “Occupational therapy practitioners are proving to be an essential member of any interprofessional team successfully addressing the changing demands of the health care delivery system.”
For more on how occupational therapy improves outcomes while reducing costs, visit http://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy/professionals/hcr