JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Enhancing physical activity in older adults receiving hospital based rehabilitation: a phase II feasibility study

Catherine M Said, Meg E Morris, Michael Woodward, Leonid Churilov, Julie Bernhardt
BMC Geriatrics 2012, 12: 26
22676723

BACKGROUND: Older adults receiving inpatient rehabilitation have low activity levels and poor mobility outcomes. Increased physical activity may improve mobility. The objective of this Phase II study was to evaluate the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of enhanced physical activity in older adults receiving rehabilitation.

METHODS: Patients admitted to aged care rehabilitation with reduced mobility were randomized to receive usual care or usual care plus additional physical activity, which was delivered by a physiotherapist or physiotherapy assistant. The feasibility and safety of the proposed RCT protocol was evaluated. The primary clinical outcome was mobility, which was assessed on hospital admission and discharge by an assessor blinded to group assignment. To determine the most appropriate measure of mobility, three measures were trialled; the Timed Up and Go, the Elderly Mobility Scale and the de Morton Mobility Index.

RESULTS: The protocol was feasible. Thirty-four percent of people admitted to the ward were recruited, with 47 participants randomised to a control (n = 25) or intervention group (n = 22). The rates of adverse events (death, falls and readmission to an acute service) did not differ between the groups. Usual care therapists remained blind to group allocation, with no change in usual practice. Physical activity targets were met on weekdays but not weekends and the intervention was acceptable to participants. The de Morton Mobility Index was the most appropriate measure of mobility.

CONCLUSIONS: The proposed RCT of enhanced physical activity in older adults receiving rehabilitation was feasible. A larger multi-centre RCT to establish whether this intervention is cost effective and improves mobility is warranted.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was registered with the ANZTCR (ACTRN12608000427370).

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