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Will patients stick to physical therapy? Questionnaire can help doctors predict
Date:9/30/2008

Patients' responses to a simple questionnaire can reliably predict whether they will adhere to physical therapy after spine surgery, Johns Hopkins researchers suggest in a new study. The findings could help physicians identify patients who might benefit from additional preoperative preparation to ensure they attend therapy sessions and follow through with prescribed exercise, a factor that can greatly affect their long-term recovery.

"It has long been known that physical therapy after spine surgery greatly improves outcomes, but to date, there has been no easy-to-administer, standardized method for assessing a patient's willingness to adhere to therapy," says Richard L. Skolasky, Sc.D., of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In the study, published online in the Oct. 1 Spine, Skolasky and his colleagues demonstrated that spine surgery patients who scored high on the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) questionnaire were 38 percent more likely to attend physical therapy and were rated as significantly more engaged in rehabilitation by their physical therapists compared to patients with low PAM scores.

The PAM, developed in 2004, is a participant-completed, 13-item questionnaire that assesses a patient's ability to play an active role in his or her health care. To date, it has been studied for use with chronic diseases such as HIV, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. This is the first time it has been applied to surgery and physical therapy.

This questionnaire asks patients to rate their agreement to a variety of statements, ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Examples of statements include: When all is said and done, I am the person who is responsible for managing my health condition; Taking an active role in my own health care is the most important factor in determining my health and ability to function; and, I am confident I can follow through on medical tr
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Contact: Eric Vohr
evohr1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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