Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Research Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

John S. Schmitt


Background and Purpose: Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, including the stomach and the intestines, and is a major cause of illness in the United States. It is a significant cause of hospitalization and deaths every year, especially in the elderly population. The purpose of this case report was to describe the interventions and outcomes of a patient undergoing physical therapy after hospitalization for viral gastroenteritis using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health as the theoretical framework.

Case Description: The patient was an 88 year old female who was admitted to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) into their transitional care unit after a four day hospital stay due to viral gastroenteritis. She also was diagnosed with pneumonia on her third day in the SNF. The patient spent 51 days in the SNF and participated in 40 physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy interventions included lower extremity strengthening, postural training, gait training, balance training, aerobic endurance training while monitoring and weaning the patient off of supplemental oxygen.

Outcomes: The patient was completely independent with all mobility and walked on a daily basis prior to being hospitalized. At baseline at the SNF, the patient was able to stand for two minutes with upper extremity support and minimal assistance, with oxygen desaturation requiring supplemental oxygen. The patient progressed to complete independence with bed mobility, modified independence with transfers and ambulation up to 910 feet with a rolling walker. Balance test scores included a Tinetti balance score of 24/28 and a Berg Balance Scale score of 42/56. The patient also made gains in functional mobility but did not reach all of her physical therapy goals prior to discharge.

Discussion: This case report describes the interventions and outcomes for a patient after hospitalization from viral gastroenteritis and resulting hospitalacquired pneumonia. The interventions described appeared to assist in the patient’s progress towards her prior level of function. Additional research is warranted to establish treatment effects in larger populations.