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Falvey JR, Burke RE, Malone D, Ridgeway KJ, McManus BM, Stevens-Lapsley JE. Role of Physical Therapists in Reducing Hospital Readmissions: Optimizing Outcomes for Older Adults During Care Transitions From Hospital to Community. Physical Therapy. 2016 Aug 1; 96(8):1125-34.
Hospital readmissions in older adult populations are an emerging quality indicator for acute care hospitals. Recent evidence has linked functional decline during and after hospitalization with an elevated risk of hospital readmission. However, models of care that have been developed to reduce hospital readmission rates do not adequately address functional deficits. Physical therapists, as experts in optimizing physical function, have a strong opportunity to contribute meaningfully to care transition models and demonstrate the value of physical therapy interventions in reducing readmissions. Thus, the purposes of this perspective article are: (1) to describe the need for physical therapist input during care transitions for older adults and (2) to outline strategies for expanding physical therapy participation in care transitions for older adults, with an overall goal of reducing avoidable 30-day hospital readmissions.