Original research| Volume 99, ISSUE 1, P26-34.e5, January 2018

Community Use of Physical and Occupational Therapy After Stroke and Risk of Hospital Readmission

  • Janet K. Freburger
    Corresponding author Janet K. Freburger, PT, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, Bridgeside Point 1, Ste 201, 100 Technology Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3130.
    Department of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

    Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Dongmei Li
    Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Erin P. Fraher
    Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

    Department of Family Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
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Published:August 11, 2017DOI:



      To determine whether receipt of therapy and number and timing of therapy visits decreased hospital readmission risk in stroke survivors discharged home.


      Retrospective cohort analysis of Medicare claims (2010–2013).


      Acute care hospital and community.


      Patients hospitalized for stroke who were discharged home and survived the first 30 days (N=23,413; mean age ± SD, 77.6±7.5y).


      Physical and occupational therapist use in the home and/or outpatient setting in the first 30 days after discharge (any use, number of visits, and days to first visit).

      Main Outcome Measures

      Hospital readmission 30 to 60 days after discharge. Covariates included demographic characteristics, proxy variables for functional status, hospitalization characteristics, comorbidities, and prior health care use. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the relation between therapist use and readmission.


      During the first 30 days after discharge, 31% of patients saw a therapist in the home, 11% saw a therapist in an outpatient setting, and 59% did not see a therapist. Relative to patients who had no therapist contact, those who saw an outpatient therapist were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital (odds ratio, 0.73; 95% confidence interval, 0.59–0.90). Although the point estimates did not reach statistical significance, there was some suggestion that the greater the number of therapist visits in the home and the sooner the visits started, the lower the risk of hospital readmission.


      After controlling for observable demographic-, clinical-, and health-related differences, we found that individuals who received outpatient therapy in the first 30 days after discharge home after stroke were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital in the subsequent 30 days, relative to those who received no therapy.


      List of abbreviations:

      IRF (inpatient rehabilitation facility), SNF (skilled nursing facility)
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