-What question were you seeking to answer?
The purpose of my Medical Scholar’s Program study is to determine the level of use of physical therapy (PT) consultations in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) setting and if there is an association with characteristics of the patient population.
-Why did you choose this topic?
I was excited to do my research with a University of Georgia Faculty member, after my time doing research there through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO). My undergrad research was in basic science; When I began the Medical Scholar’s Program, I was looking forward to the opportunity to explore a new area of research for me: clinical research. The topic of my Medical Scholar’s Program study is interesting to me, because it incorporated data from several specialties that I am interested in potentially pursuing–including Emergency Medicine and Surgery.
-How did you study this question?
With the mentorship of Dr. Jarrod Call, I, along with two other second year medical students, Forrest Clarke and Yelissa Navarro, conducted a retrospective study to address our research questions. We completed a chart review of patients admitted to Piedmont Athens Regional (PAR) from January 2019 to December 2020. These patients were divided into two groups: receiving PT and not receiving PT. De-identified data (patient demographics, injury characteristics, severity scores, comorbidities, complications, and ICU durations) was assessed using Chi-squared analysis or t-test (JMP Pro 16 Software). To determine the patient characteristics most predictive of whether a patient received PT or not, logistic regression analysis was used.
-What did you learn through your research?
The results showed that ICU and total hospital lengths of stay were longer for patients who received PT. Patients who received PT spent, on average, 1 more day in the ICU and 4 more days in the hospital. The following characteristics were significant predictors of receiving PT: age, Glasgow Coma Score (GCS), and Revised Trauma Score (RTS). There were significant relationships between receiving PT and the following characteristics: age, chief complaint, GCS and Injury Severity Score (ISS). However, ethnicity, race, and gender were not significant.
In sum, findings showed that older patients, struck by an object or person as opposed to a fall or motor vehicle collision, with a higher GCS and RTS severity score were more likely to receive PT services.
-Who stands to benefit from this research?
These findings have helped identify predictors and characteristics of patients receiving a PT consult in an ICU setting and have the potential to be applied when developing novel rehabilitation techniques following traumatic orthopedic injury in both civilian and military populations.
-What are/what would be the next steps in your research?
The next best steps in this research is to continue to track patients who were admitted to PAR, then transferred to nearby Level-I trauma facilities for advanced care and surgical intervention, for more robust analysis data.