Simulation of a physical therapy department in a rehabilitation hospital



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The study of hospital departments and how they perform under different circumstances is complicated by the existence of many uncontroilable variables that make it difficult to set up an adequate experimental design. Simulation modeling offers the ability to control some of the many factors so as to better measure those of interest. The purpose of this study was to develop a valid model of a physical therapy department and to investigate the effect of various factors on the model. Data were collected from many sources in the hospital: interviews, direct observation, computer files and reports, and manually prepared reports. From these data were determined probability distributions for patient arrival rate, patient disability, number of treatments per visit, treatment types for each disability, and treatment duration. Using these distributions and other information, a model was devised to simulate the department. Validation runs showed good comparison between the model and the department. Four experiments were performed with the model to explore its applicability.