Pilot study of the implementation of a cross-site therapy outcome measure

Louisa Wardrope1, Anne Darton2, Rachel Edmondson3, Mona Fan4, Akane Katsu5, Frank Li6, Andrea McKittrick7, Emma Wythes8

1 Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord NSW 2139, louisa.wardrope@sswahs.nsw.gov.au 
2 Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards NSW 2065, anne.darton@health.nsw.gov.au
3 Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards NSW 2065, rachel.edmondson@health.nsw.gov.au
4 Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord NSW 2139, yi-chan.fan@sswahs.nsw.gov.au
5 Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards NSW 2065, akane.katsu@health.nsw.gov.au
6 Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord NSW 2139, frank.li@sswahs.nsw.gov.au
7 Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards NSW 2065, andrea.mckittrick@health.nsw.gov.au
8 Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Concord NSW 2139, emma.wythes@sswahs.nsw.gov.au


NSW has an established cross-site burn physiotherapy and occupational therapy professional interest group. Assessing patient improvement through therapy intervention is challenging due to the diversity of non-burn and burn-specific Outcome Measures (OM)[1], especially when identifying suitable measures that need to integrate into everyday practice.  The Australian Therapy Outcome Measures (AusTOMS)[2] were selected on the basis of their simplicity to collect and reflection of therapy specific interventions.


One scale was chosen from each of the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy scales. A pilot study was completed with adult, ward only patients being assessed at admission and discharge, after a minimum of three days of therapy.


Five months of data was collected and analysed. The tool was reported as easy to administer, time-efficient and non-invasive.  Initial analysis of the data determined that assessment methods were not consistent across the sites and disciplines and subsequently required adjustment. When tested for normality, the majority of the data does not distribute normally, therefore cannot be considered as statistically significant.


The process of selecting and implementing these outcome measures has yielded some key learnings and concluded there is potential for the AusTOMs to be used as a routine clinical OM in burn therapy. The project highlighted the need for robust discussion and regular review of both the assessment guidelines and process if these are to be clear, consistent and reproducible. Further data collection and cleansing should enable both clear results and benchmarking figures, which may identify areas of improvement in patient care.

Key Words

Outcome, measures, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, benchmarking


[1] Edgar, D., ‘Measuring Post-burn Recovery’, in D Edgar, Burn Trauma Rehabilitation: Allied Health Practice Guidelines, 1st edn, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, PA, pp.84-99
[2] Perry, A, et al, 2004, ‘Therapy outcome measures for allied health practitioners in Australia: the AusTOMS’, International Journal for Quality in Health Care, vol.16, 4, pp.285-291.


UK trained Physiotherapist of 12 years, with 7 years experience in Burns. Currently, working for the past 2 years at Concord.


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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