Defining Potential Overutilization of Physical Therapy Consults on Hospital Medicine Services

J Hosp Med. 2021 Aug 18. doi: 10.12788/jhm.3673. Online ahead of print.


Appropriate use of inpatient physical therapy services is important for preventing hospital-associated disability (HAD). We assessed potential overutilization of physical therapy consults on hospital medicine services using the Activity Measure-Post Acute Care (AM-PAC) score. Our sample included 3592 unique admissions (mean age, 66 years; 48% women) at a large academic medical center. Based on an AM-PAC cutoff of >43.63 (raw score, 18) in patients who were discharged to home, 38% of physical therapy consults were considered "potential overutilization." Combined with age <65 years, 18% of consults remained "potential overutilization." After adjustment for age, sex, and length of stay, patients admitted with high mobility scores were 5.38 times more likely to be discharged to home (95% CI, 4.36-2.89) compared with those with low mobility scores. Being more judicious with physical therapy consults and reserving skilled therapy for at-risk patients could help prevent HAD while also having a positive impact on healthcare systems.