A mixed method analysis of the role of balance outcome measures in therapist decision-making and patient outcomes
The purpose of these three studies was to assess the impact of using outcome measures on physical therapists' decision-making and patient functional outcomes. Three hundred thirty-seven physical therapists completed an online survey focused on their use of outcome measures and their relationship with decision-making for patients with acquired brain injury. Physical therapists reported that the use of outcome measures frequently impacted decision-making in estimating prognosis, identifying a patient's risk for adverse events, setting goals, communicating, educating, making discharge decisions, and selecting treatment interventions. Twenty-three physical therapists participated in semi-structured interviews focused on outcome measures' impact on decision-making and patient outcomes. Therapists indicated that outcome measures played a large role in clinical decisions, and a majority reported they believed there was a relationship between outcome measures and patient outcomes. Finally, eight physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) participated in a knowledge translation intervention focused on outcome measures. Patients treated by these therapists demonstrated significantly better ambulation ability and participated in significantly fewer minutes of physical therapy compared to patients treated by six PTs and PTAs who did not participate in an educational intervention.