• Physical function in hospice patients and physiotherapy interventions: a profile of hospice physiotherapy.

      Cobbe, Sinead; Kennedy, Norelee; 1 Physiotherapy Department, Milford Care Centre , Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland . (2012-07)
      Abstract Objective: There is a dearth of international research on hospice physiotherapy. This study aims to profile hospice physiotherapy in an Irish setting in order to inform practice internationally. Design: The study design consisted of a retrospective chart audit over 6 months. Setting: The study took place at a specialist palliative care inpatient unit (hospice) in Limerick, Ireland. Participants: All patients were discharged (through death or discharge onwards) from January to June 2010. Outcome measure: The Edmonton Functional Assessment Tool (EFAT-2) was used as an outcome measure. Results: Sixty-five percent were referred for physiotherapy; 58% (n=144) were assessed and treated. A wide range of patients was referred (mean functional score 11, range 1-23, SD 5). Rehabilitation activities were widespread: 48% with more than one functional score recorded made improvements; 53% of physiotherapy patients were eventually discharged home; 47% of physiotherapy patients died, of whom 52% received physiotherapy in the last week of life. The median physiotherapy program lasted 11 days (range 1-186, SD 22) whereas the median number of treatments was four (range 1-99, SD 10). The most common interventions were gait re-education (67%), transfer training (58%), and exercises (53%). One third of treatment attempts were unsuccessful because of the unavailability/unsuitability of patients. Challenges for physiotherapists included frequent suspension of treatment and large functional fluctuations in patients. Conclusion: There was a high referral rate to physiotherapy in this hospice. Functional changes in hospice patients were mapped, showing that physiotherapy involved both rehabilitative and quality of life/supportive measures. The most common treatments were physical activity interventions.