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Early Protocolized Versus Usual Care Rehabilitation for Pediatric Neurocritical Care Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Fink, E. L.; Beers, S. R.; Houtrow, A. J.; Richichi, R.; Burns, C.; Doughty, L.; Ortiz-Aguayo, R.; Madurski, C. A.; Valenta, C.; Chrisman, M.; Golightly, L.; Kiger, M.; Patrick, C.; Treble-Barna, A.; Pollon, D.; Smith, C. M.; Kochanek, P.

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2019 Feb 2


OBJECTIVES: Few feasibility, safety, and efficacy data exist regarding ICU-based rehabilitative services for children. We hypothesized that early protocolized assessment and therapy would be feasible and safe versus usual care in pediatric neurocritical care patients. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Three tertiary care PICUs in the United States. PATIENTS: Fifty-eight children between the ages of 3-17 years with new traumatic or nontraumatic brain insult and expected ICU admission greater than 48 hours. INTERVENTIONS: Early protocolized (consultation of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy within 72 hr ICU admission, n = 26) or usual care (consultation per treating team, n = 32). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Primary outcomes were consultation timing, treatment type, and frequency of deferrals and safety events. Secondary outcomes included patient and family functional and quality of life outcomes at 6 months. Comparing early protocolized (n = 26) and usual care groups (n = 32), physical therapy was consulted during the hospital admission in 26 of 26 versus 28 of 32 subjects (p = 0.062) on day 2.4 +/- 0.8 versus 7.7 +/- 4.8 (p = 0.001); occupational therapy in 26 of 26 versus 23 of 32 (p = 0.003), on day 2.3 +/- 0.6 versus 6.9 +/- 4.8 (p = 0.001); and speech and language therapy in 26 of 26 versus 17 of 32 (p = 0.011) on day 2.3 +/- 0.7 versus 13.0 +/- 10.8 (p = 0.026). More children in the early protocolized group had consults and treatments occur in the ICU versus ward for all three services (all p < 0.001). Eleven sessions were discontinued early: nine during physical therapy and two during occupational therapy, none impacting patient outcome. There were no group differences in functional or quality of life outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: A protocol for early personalized rehabilitation by physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy in pediatric neurocritical care patients could be safely implemented and led to more ICU-based treatment sessions, accelerating the temporal profile and changing composition of interventions versus usual care, but not altering the total dose of rehabilitation.

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