Physical and Occupational Therapy (Critical Care Manual)

Traditionally, mechanically-ventilated patients have not received physical therapy. However, a study from the University of Pennsylvania suggests that intubated patients receiving nearly immediate physical therapy have less delirium and more ventilator-free days as compared to those who don’t [Schweickert WD et al. Lancet 373: 1874, 2009]. While the up-front costs may seem prohibitive, overall the reduction in costs associated with long term ICU care may outweigh additional PT/OT costs – a study from the University of Minnesota suggested that aggressive PT may save up to $6000 per intubated patient [Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) 40th Critical Care Congress: Abstract 95. Presented January 16, 2011]