Do patients discharged from advanced practice physiotherapy-led clinics re-present to specialist medical orthopaedic and neurosurgery services?

Dr Angela T Chang1, Mrs Belinda Gavaghan3, Dr Shaun O’Leary1,2, Mrs Liza-Jane McBride3, Ms Maree Raymer1

1Department of Physiotherapy, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia

2School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia

3Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland, Department of Health (Qld), Herston, Australia

 

Aim: To determine the rates of re-referral to specialist orthopaedic or neurosurgical outpatient clinics for patients previously managed and discharged from an advanced practice physiotherapy-led service in three metropolitan hospitals.

 

Methods: A retrospective audit was undertaken of 462 patient cases with non-urgent musculoskeletal conditions discharged between 1 April 2014 and 30 March 2015 from three metropolitan hospitals. These patients had been discharged from the physiotherapy-led service without requiring specialist medical review. Rates and patterns of re-referral to specialist orthopaedic and neurosurgical departments within 12-months of discharge were investigated.

 

Results: Forty four of the 462 patients (9.52%) who were managed by the physiotherapy-led service were re-referred to specialist medical orthopaedic and neurosurgical departments within 12 months of discharge. Only 22 patients (4.8%) were re-referred for the same condition as previously managed.

 

Significance of findings to allied health: Ninety five per-cent of patients with non-urgent musculoskeletal conditions managed by an advanced practice physiotherapy-led service at three metropolitan hospitals did not re-present to access public specialist medical services within 12 months of discharge. This is the first time that re-presentation rates have been reported for patients managed in advanced practice physiotherapy services and supports the effectiveness of these models of care in managing demand for speciality outpatient services.