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1.  Are weekend inpatient rehabilitation services value for money? An economic evaluation alongside a randomized controlled trial with a 30 day follow up 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:89.
Providing additional Saturday rehabilitation can improve functional independence and health related quality of life at discharge and it may reduce patient length of stay, yet the economic implications are not known. The aim of this study was to determine from a health service perspective if the provision of rehabilitation to inpatients on a Saturday in addition to Monday to Friday was cost effective compared to Monday to Friday rehabilitation alone.
Cost utility and cost effectiveness analyses were undertaken alongside a multi-center, single-blind randomized controlled trial with a 30-day follow up after discharge. Participants were adults admitted for inpatient rehabilitation in two publicly funded metropolitan rehabilitation facilities. The control group received usual care rehabilitation services from Monday to Friday and the intervention group received usual care plus an additional rehabilitation service on Saturday. Incremental cost utility ratio was reported as cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained and an incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) was reported as cost for a minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in functional independence.
996 patients (mean age 74 (standard deviation 13) years) were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 496) or the control group (n = 500). Mean difference in cost of AUD$1,673 (95% confidence interval (CI) -271 to 3,618) was a saving in favor of the intervention group. The incremental cost utility ratio found a saving of AUD$41,825 (95% CI -2,817 to 74,620) per QALY gained for the intervention group. The ICER found a saving of AUD$16,003 (95% CI -3,074 to 87,361) in achieving a MCID in functional independence for the intervention group. If the willingness to pay per QALY gained or for a MCID in functional independence was zero dollars the probability of the intervention being cost effective was 96% and 95%, respectively. A sensitivity analysis removing Saturday penalty rates did not significantly alter the outcome.
From a health service perspective, the provision of rehabilitation to inpatients on a Saturday in addition to Monday to Friday, compared to Monday to Friday rehabilitation alone, is likely to be cost saving per QALY gained and for a MCID in functional independence.
Trial registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry November 2009 ACTRN12609000973213
PMCID: PMC4053313  PMID: 24885811
Rehabilitation; Economic evaluation; Randomized controlled trial; Allied health
3.  Additional Saturday rehabilitation improves functional independence and quality of life and reduces length of stay: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Medicine  2013;11:198.
Many inpatients receive little or no rehabilitation on weekends. Our aim was to determine what effect providing additional Saturday rehabilitation during inpatient rehabilitation had on functional independence, quality of life and length of stay compared to 5 days per week of rehabilitation.
This was a multicenter, single-blind (assessors) randomized controlled trial with concealed allocation and 12-month follow-up conducted in two publically funded metropolitan inpatient rehabilitation facilities in Melbourne, Australia. Patients were eligible if they were adults (aged ≥18 years) admitted for rehabilitation for any orthopedic, neurological or other disabling conditions excluding those admitted for slow stream rehabilitation/geriatric evaluation and management. Participants were randomly allocated to usual care Monday to Friday rehabilitation (control) or to Monday to Saturday rehabilitation (intervention). The additional Saturday rehabilitation comprised physiotherapy and occupational therapy. The primary outcomes were functional independence (functional independence measure (FIM); measured on an 18 to 126 point scale), health-related quality of life (EQ-5D utility index; measured on a 0 to 1 scale, and EQ-5D visual analog scale; measured on a 0 to 100 scale), and patient length of stay. Outcome measures were assessed on admission, discharge (primary endpoint), and at 6 and 12 months post discharge.
We randomly assigned 996 adults (mean (SD) age 74 (13) years) to Monday to Saturday rehabilitation (n = 496) or usual care Monday to Friday rehabilitation (n = 500). Relative to admission scores, intervention group participants had higher functional independence (mean difference (MD) 2.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5 to 4.1, P = 0.01) and health-related quality of life (MD 0.04, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.07, P = 0.009) on discharge and may have had a shorter length of stay by 2 days (95% CI 0 to 4, P = 0.1) when compared to control group participants. Intervention group participants were 17% more likely to have achieved a clinically significant change in functional independence of 22 FIM points or more (risk ratio (RR) 1.17, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.34) and 18% more likely to have achieved a clinically significant change in health-related quality of life (RR 1.18, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.34) on discharge compared to the control group. There was some maintenance of effect for functional independence and health-related quality of life at 6-month follow-up but not at 12-month follow-up. There was no difference in the number of adverse events between the groups (incidence rate ratio = 0.81, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.08).
Providing an additional day of rehabilitation improved functional independence and health-related quality of life at discharge and may have reduced length of stay for patients receiving inpatient rehabilitation.
Trial registration
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000973213
Please see related commentary:
PMCID: PMC3844491  PMID: 24228854
Occupational therapy; Physiotherapy; Rehabilitation; Quality of life
4.  Health-Related Quality of Life of Australians with Parkinson Disease: A Comparison with International Studies 
Physiotherapy Canada  2012;64(4):338-346.
Purpose: This study describes the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of Australians living with Parkinson disease (PD) and compares the findings to international reports. Methods: The Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) was used to measure HRQOL in 210 individuals with PD living in Australia. In parallel, a tailored literature search identified previous studies on HROQL in people with PD. A quantitative meta-analysis with a random-effects model was used to compare the HRQOL of individuals with PD living in Australia and other countries. Results: The mean PDQ-39 summary index (SI) score for this sample of Australians with PD was 20.9 (SD 12.7). Ratings for the dimension of social support and stigma were significantly lower than ratings for bodily discomfort, mobility, activities of daily living, cognition, and emotional well-being. Comparing the Australian and international PD samples revealed a significant heterogeneity in overall HRQOL (I2=97%). The mean PDQ-39 SI scores for Australians were lower, indicating better HRQOL relative to samples from other countries. Conclusions: This Australian sample with PD perceived their HRQOL as poor, although it was less severely compromised than that of international samples. While further research is required, these findings can inform the clinical decision-making processes of physiotherapists.
PMCID: PMC3484904  PMID: 23997388
Australia; meta-analysis; Parkinson disease; quality of life; Australie; maladie de Parkinson; méta-analyse; physiothérapie; qualité de vie
5.  Health-related quality of life and strain in caregivers of Australians with Parkinson’s disease: An observational study 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:57.
The relationship between health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers is little understood and any effects on caregiver strain remain unclear. This paper examines these relationships in an Australian sample.
Using the generic EuroQol (EQ-5D) and disease-specific Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39 Item (PDQ-39), HRQoL was evaluated in a sample of 97 people with PD and their caregivers. Caregiver strain was assessed using the Modified Caregiver Strain Index. Associations were evaluated between: (i) caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL; (ii) caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain, and; (iii) between caregiver strain and care-recipient HRQoL.
No statistically significant relationships were found between caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL, or between caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain. Although this Australian sample of caregivers experienced relatively good HRQoL and moderately low strain, a significant correlation was found between HRQoL of people with PD and caregiver strain (rho 0.43, p < .001).
Poor HRQoL in people with PD is associated with higher strain in caregivers. Therapy interventions may target problems reported as most troublesome by people with PD, with potential to reduce strain on the caregiver.
PMCID: PMC3434109  PMID: 22804846
6.  Protocol for a home-based integrated physical therapy program to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:54.
The high incidence of falls associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) increases the risk of injuries and immobility and compromises quality of life. Although falls education and strengthening programs have shown some benefit in healthy older people, the ability of physical therapy interventions in home settings to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s has not been convincingly demonstrated.
180 community living people with PD will be randomly allocated to receive either a home-based integrated rehabilitation program (progressive resistance strength training, movement strategy training and falls education) or a home-based life skills program (control intervention). Both programs comprise one hour of treatment and one hour of structured homework per week over six weeks of home therapy. Blinded assessments occurring before therapy commences, the week after completion of therapy and 12 months following intervention will establish both the immediate and long-term benefits of home-based rehabilitation. The number of falls, number of repeat falls, falls rate and time to first fall will be the primary measures used to quantify outcome. The economic costs associated with injurious falls, and the costs of running the integrated rehabilitation program from a health system perspective will be established. The effects of intervention on motor and global disability and on quality of life will also be examined.
This study will provide new evidence on the outcomes and cost effectiveness of home-based movement rehabilitation programs for people living with PD.
Trial registration
The trial is registered on the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000390381).
PMCID: PMC3436761  PMID: 22799601
Parkinson’s disease; Accidental falls; Randomized controlled trial; Falls prevention
7.  Market failure, policy failure and other distortions in chronic disease markets 
The increasing prevalence of chronic disease represents a significant burden on most health systems. This paper explores the market failures and policy failures that exist in the management of chronic diseases.
There are many sources of market failure in health care that undermine the efficiency of chronic disease management. These include incomplete information as well as information asymmetry between providers and consumers, the effect of externalities on consumer behaviour, and the divergence between social and private time preference rates. This has seen government and policy interventions to address both market failures and distributional issues resulting from the inability of private markets to reach an efficient and equitable distribution of resources. However, these have introduced a series of policy failures such as distorted re-imbursement arrangements across modalities and delivery settings.
The paper concludes that market failure resulting from a preference of individuals for 'immediate gratification' in the form of health care and disease management, rather than preventative services, where the benefits are delayed, has a major impact on achieving an efficient allocation of resources in markets for the management of chronic diseases. This distortion is compounded by government health policy that tends to favour medical and pharmaceutical interventions further contributing to distortions in the allocation of resources and inefficiencies in the management of chronic disease.
PMCID: PMC2704185  PMID: 19534822
8.  Quantifying the profile and progression of impairments, activity, participation, and quality of life in people with Parkinson disease: protocol for a prospective cohort study 
BMC Geriatrics  2009;9:2.
Despite the finding that Parkinson disease (PD) occurs in more than one in every 1000 people older than 60 years, there have been few attempts to quantify how deficits in impairments, activity, participation, and quality of life progress in this debilitating condition. It is unclear which tools are most appropriate for measuring change over time in PD.
Methods and design
This protocol describes a prospective analysis of changes in impairments, activity, participation, and quality of life over a 12 month period together with an economic analysis of costs associated with PD. One-hundred participants will be included, provided they have idiopathic PD rated I-IV on the modified Hoehn & Yahr (1967) scale and fulfil the inclusion criteria. The study aims to determine which clinical and economic measures best quantify the natural history and progression of PD in a sample of people receiving services from the Victorian Comprehensive Parkinson's Program, Australia. When the data become available, the results will be expressed as baseline scores and changes over 3 months and 12 months for impairment, activity, participation, and quality of life together with a cost analysis.
This study has the potential to identify baseline characteristics of PD for different Hoehn & Yahr stages, to determine the influence of disease duration on performance, and to calculate the costs associated with idiopathic PD. Valid clinical and economic measures for quantifying the natural history and progression of PD will also be identified.
Trial Registration
PMCID: PMC2649133  PMID: 19152709
9.  Cost effectiveness of preventing falls and improving mobility in people with Parkinson disease: protocol for an economic evaluation alongside a clinical trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2008;8:23.
Cost of illness studies show that Parkinson disease (PD) is costly for individuals, the healthcare system and society. The costs of PD include both direct and indirect costs associated with falls and related injuries.
This protocol describes a prospective economic analysis conducted alongside a randomised controlled trial (RCT). It evaluates whether physical therapy is more cost effective than usual care from the perspective of the health care system. Cost effectiveness will be evaluated using a three-way comparison of the cost per fall averted and the cost per quality adjusted life year saved across two physical therapy interventions and a control group.
This study has the potential to determine whether targetted physical therapy as an adjunct to standard care can be cost effective in reducing falls in people with PD.
Trial Registration
No: ACTRN12606000344594
PMCID: PMC2573876  PMID: 18823565

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