home health care, physical therapy, prospective payment system (PPS), utilization



  1. Kim, Tomoko Arakawa DScPT
  2. Gordes, Karen Lynn PT, DScPT
  3. Alon, Gad PhD, PT


Purpose: Aging adults who are homebound while recovering from illness or surgery are often referred to physical therapy for home-based rehabilitation care. The efficacy of such home-based interventions has not been thoroughly studied. The purpose of this study was to analyze the utilization of physical therapy services in one home health care agency under the prospective payment system. A review was conducted to determine the interaction between the number of physical therapy visits, duration of care, comorbidities, and the functional outcomes of toileting, transferring, and ambulation/ locomotion at discharge.


Methods: The study design was a retrospective chart review of 99 patients with orthopedic diagnoses from one home health care agency in York, Pennsylvania who were admitted and discharged in the 2005 calendar year.


Results: For all subjects (N = 99), the mean number of physical therapy visits was 5.7 (3.2), and the average duration of an episode of care was 20.5 (10.6) days. There was a significant improvement (P = .000) in all 3 functional activities, as scored by the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) functional scale following the episode of physical therapy intervention.


Conclusions: Physical therapy may be beneficial to the study's homebound patients in improving their functional abilities.