Lisa O’Brien, Shai Bynon, Jacqui Morarty, Scott Presnell; Improving Older Trauma Patients’ Outcomes Through Targeted Occupational Therapy and Functional Conditioning. Am J Occup Ther 2012;66(4):431–437. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.003137
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. Hospitalized older people are at risk of functional decline, and risk increases with length of stay (LOS). We measured the impact on LOS and discharge destination of targeted occupational therapy and a functional conditioning program (FCP) for older adults admitted to a metropolitan trauma unit.
METHOD. The intervention group consisted of 50 participants >65 yr old living independently in the community before admission. Outcomes were compared with historical control group data (N = 105).
RESULTS. The intervention group’s mean LOS was 2 days less than that of the control group (p = .04). A higher proportion in the intervention group was also discharged to home, but the difference was not statistically significant. Referrals to occupational therapy increased significantly (p = .05), and participants were seen 1.5 days sooner (p = .003) than the control group. Referral to FCP was 7 times higher in the intervention group (p = .001).
CONCLUSION. Targeted occupational therapy and FCP can improve LOS in older trauma patients.
Occupational therapy has a pivotal role in identifying and addressing issues of occupational performance, and this should commence at the earliest opportunity.
Early engagement in meaningful occupations (including self-care and leisure) is likely to have minimized functional decline and contributed to the positive patient outcomes reported in this study.
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