24/7 Physical Therapy Intervention With Adult Patients in a Chilean Intensive Care Unit: A Cost-Benefit Analysis in a Developing Country



Physiotherapy in an adult intensive care unit (ICU) affects health outcome. To justify the investment in ICU physical therapy, the cost savings associated with its benefits need to be established. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the potential cost savings of implementing 24-hour, 7-days-per-week physiotherapist (24/7-PT) in a Chilean public high-complex specialized ICU.


Using clinical data from a literature review and a micro-costing technique, we conducted a cost-benefit analysis in the National Institute of Thorax in Chile. Our example scenario involves 697 theoretical admissions of adult patients with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, and the costs and benefits by reduction of length of stay in ICU, days of mechanical ventilation, and days with respiratory infections during the first year and 5 years of admissions. A sensitivity analysis was considered according to the variability in total costs, production income, and clinical benefits.


Net cost savings generated in our example scenario demonstrate that the implementation of 24/7-PT produces a minimum saving for the institution of $16 242 during the first year and $69 351 over a 5-year interval considering individual income production. Out of the 30 scenarios included in the sensitivity analyses, 26 (87%) demonstrated net savings.


A financial model, based on literature review and actual cost data, projects that 24/7-PT intervention is a cost-benefit alternative in adult ICU patients with cardiovascular or respiratory diseases in Chile. It is necessary a scenario of at least 3 sessions per day with insurance payment for individual treatments to support the long-term implementation of a 24/7-PT program.


Catalina Merino-Osorio Mónica Velásquez Roberto Reveco José Ignacio Marmolejo Carolina Fu

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