Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Advanced musculoskeletal physiotherapists are effective and safe in managing patients with acute low back pain presenting to emergency departments.

James Sayer , Rita Kinsella , Belinda Cary , Angela Burge , Lara Kimmel , Paula Harding


ABSTRACT Objective: To compare emergency department (ED) key performance indicators for patients presenting with low back pain and seen by an Advanced Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist (AMP) as compared to other non-AMP clinicians (ED doctors and nurse practitioners). Methods: Retrospective audit (October 2012 to September 2013) of data from three metropolitan public hospitals EDs to compare patients with low back pain seen by AMP and non-AMP clinicians. Outcome measures included ED length of stay, ED wait time, admission rates and re-presentation to ED. Results: One thousand and eighty-nine patients with low back pain were seen during AMP service hours (360 in AMP group and 729 in the non-AMP group). Patients seen by the AMP had significantly shorter ED wait time (median 13 minutes compared to 32 minutes, p<0.001) and ED length of stay (median 141 minutes compared to 175 minutes, p<0.001). Significantly fewer patients seen by the AMP were admitted (p<0.001), and this difference remained after accounting for the difference in triage code between the groups. Conclusion: Improved ED metrics were demonstrated in patients with low back pain when managed by an AMP compared to patients seen by doctors and nurse practitioners.

AH16211  Accepted 03 March 2017

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