2022 Volume 25 Issue 2 Pages 75-83
Objective: The study aimed to examine the effect of dedicated physical therapy (PT) staffing on the outcomes of patients admitted to a general medical ward with acute cholangitis. Methods: This retrospective observational study was conducted in an 865-bed tertiary-care hospital in Japan. Patients with acute cholangitis between September 2015 and August 2017 were enrolled. Patients admitted to a ward with dedicated PT staffing were included in the dedicated group, while those admitted to a ward without dedicated PT staffing were included in the non-dedicated group. Each group was further divided into pre-dedicated and post-dedicated period based on September 1, 2016, at which PT staffing was implemented. The primary outcome was absolute functional gain (AFG), which was defined as the difference between Barthel index at discharge and that at admission. A difference-in-difference analysis was conducted to examine the changes in AFG associated with ward-dedicated PT staffing. Results: We identified 456 patients with acute cholangitis. Complete case analysis was applied, resulting in 252 patients in the final analysis. Patients were assigned to the dedicated group in the pre-dedicated period (n = 66) and post-dedicated period (n = 52), and to the non-dedicated group in the pre-dedicated period (n = 60) and post-dedicated period (n = 74). The adjusted difference-in-difference estimator was 17.1 (95% confidence interval: 5.6 to 28.5, p = 0.003) for AFG. Conclusion: Ward-dedicated PT staffing may improve the AFG of general medical patients in an acute hospital. Ward-dedicated PT staffing should be among the strategies utilized in the acute care process.