Disparities in the allocation of inpatient physical and occupational therapy services for patients with COVID-19

Link to article at PubMed

J Hosp Med. 2022 Feb;17(2):88-95. doi: 10.1002/jhm.12785. Epub 2022 Feb 11.


BACKGROUND: Survivors of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) experience significant morbidity with reduced physical function and impairments in activities of daily living. The use of in-hospital rehabilitation therapy may reduce long-term impairments.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the frequency of therapy referral and treatment amongst hospitalized COVID-19 patients, assess for disparities in referral and receipt of therapy, and identify potentially modifiable factors contributing to disparities in therapy allocation.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective cohort study using data collected from the University of Colorado Health Data Compass data warehouse assessing therapy referral rates and estimated delivery based on available administrative billing.

MEASUREMENTS: Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between sex and/or underrepresented minority race with therapy referral or delivery.

RESULTS: Amongst 6239 COVID-19-related hospitalization, a therapy referral was present in 3952 patients (51.9%). Hispanic ethnicity was independently associated with lower odds of receipt of therapy referral (adjusted OR [aOR]: 0.78, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.67-0.93, p = .001). Advanced age (aOR: 1.53, 95% CI: 1.46-1.62, p < .001), greater COVID illness severity (aOR for intensive care unit admission: 1.63, 95% CI: 1.37-1.94, p < .01) and hospital stay (aOR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.12-1.15, p < .01) were positively associated with referral.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In a cohort of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 across a multicenter healthcare system, we found that referral rates and delivery of physical therapy and/or occupational therapy sessions were significantly reduced for patients of Hispanic identity compared with patients of non-Hispanic, Caucasian identity after adjustment for potential confounding by available demographic and illness severity variables.

PMID:35446466 | DOI:10.1002/jhm.12785

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