Incidence of Free of Charge Physiotherapy in a Danish National Cohort of Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

BACKGROUND:

Denmark is a welfare state with a publically funded healthcare system that includes the right to free of charge physiotherapy (FCP) for patients with chronic or progressive disease who fulfill strict criteria. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of referral to FCP in patients with a hospital diagnosis of stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (PD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) between 2007 and 2016.

METHODS:

The study was register-based and included data from The Danish National Patient Registry and The National Health Service Registry. The study population included the four largest disease groups receiving FCP in Denmark. The incidence of receiving FCP was reported as the cumulated incidence proportion (CIP).

RESULTS:

The study showed that FCP was mainly initiated within the first 2 years after diagnosis. The 2-year CIP was 8% for stroke patients, 53% for PD patients, 49% for MS patients, and 16% for RA patients. The proportion of patients referred to FCP generally increased over the period of the study due to more patients being referred from medical specialists in primary care.

CONCLUSION:

This study found substantial differences in the incidence of referral to FCP in a Danish population of stroke, PD, MS and RA patients.