Hospitalists and PTs: Building strong relationships


To elaborate on one tool, the 6-Clicks Mobility Score is a validated test that allows PTs to assess basic mobility.1,2 It rates six functional tasks (hence 6 clicks) that include: turning over in bed, moving from lying to sitting, moving to/from bed to chair, transitioning from sitting to standing from a chair, walking in a hospital room, and climbing three to five steps. These functional tasks are scored based on the amount of assistance needed. The scores, in turn, have been shown to support discharge destination planning.1 In addition to informing discharge destination decisions, hospitalists and the rest of the health care team can use 6-Clicks to estimate prolonged hospital stays, readmissions, and emergency department (ED) visits.3

Of course, discharge disposition is influenced by many factors in addition to functional status. Hospitalists are the obvious choice to lead the health care team in interpreting relevant data and test results, and to communicate these results to patients and caregivers so together they can decide the most appropriate discharge destination.

I envision a conversation between a fully informed hospitalist and a patient as follows: “Based on your past history, your living situation, all of your test results including labs, x-rays and the functional tests performed by your PT, your potential for a full recovery is good. You have a moderate decline in function with a high likelihood of returning home in the next 7-10 days. I recommend you go to a SNF for high-intensity rehabilitation for 7 days and that the SNF order PT and OT twice a day and walks with nursing every evening.”

This fully informed conversation can only take place if hospitalists are provided clear, concise documentation, including results of objective functional testing, by their physical therapy colleagues.

In conclusion, PTs working in the acute setting need to use validated tests to objectively assess function and educate their hospitalist colleagues on the meaning of these tests. Hospitalists in turn can incorporate these assessments into a discussion of discharge disposition and longitudinal recovery with patients. In this way, hospitalists and physical therapists can work together to achieve patient-centered, high-value care during and following a hospitalization.

Ms. Tammany is SVP of clinical strategy & innovation for Remedy Partners, Norwalk, Conn.


1. Jette DU et al. AM-PAC “6-Clicks” functional assessment scores predict acute care hospital discharge destination. Phys Ther. 2014 Sep;94(9):1252-61.

2. Jette DU et al. Validity of the AM-PAC “6-Clicks” inpatient daily activity and basic mobility short forms. Phys Ther. 2014 Mar;94(3):379-91.

3. Menendez ME et al. Does “6-Clicks” Day 1 Postoperative Mobility Score Predict Discharge Disposition After Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasties?” J Arthroplasty. 2016 Sep;31(9):1916-20.


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