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Implementing a Personalized Physical Therapy Approach (Coach2Move) Is Effective in Increasing Physical Activity and Improving Functional Mobility in Older Adults: A Cluster-Randomized, Stepped Wedge Trial.

Physical Therapy 2022 October 7
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess whether the superior cost-effectiveness of a personalized physical therapy approach (Coach2Move)-which was demonstrated in a previous trial when compared to usual care physical therapy (UCP)-can be replicated in daily clinical practice.

METHODS: A multicenter cluster-randomized stepped wedge trial with 4 clusters consisting of 4 physical therapist practices in the Netherlands was used to compare a personalized physical therapy approach to elicit physical activity (Coach2Move) versus care as usual. Multilevel analyses for effectiveness were conducted for the amount of physical activity (Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam Physical Activity Questionnaire) and functional mobility (Timed "Up & Go" Test) at 3, 6 (primary outcome), and 12 months' follow-up. Secondary outcomes were: level of frailty (Evaluative Frailty Index for Physical Activity), perceived effect (Global Perceived Effect and Patient-Specific Complaints questionnaires), quality of life (Euro Quality of Life-5 Dimensions-5 Levels [EQ-5D-5L]), and health care expenditures.

RESULTS: The 292 community-dwelling older adults with mobility problems visiting physical therapists were included in either the Coach2Move (n = 112; mean [SD] age = 82 [5] y; 60% female) or UCP (n = 180; mean [SD] age = 81 (6) y; 62% female) section of the trial. At baseline, Coach2Move participants were less physically active as compared with UCP participants (mean difference = -198; 95% CI = -90 to -306) active minutes. At 6 months, between-group mean differences (95% CI) favored Coach2Move participants on physical activity levels (297 [83 to 512] active minutes), functional mobility (-14.2 [-21 to -8]) seconds] and frailty levels (-5 [-8 to -1] points). At 12 months, the physical activity levels of Coach2Move participants further increased and frailty levels and secondary outcomes remained stable, whereas outcomes of UCP participants decreased. After the Coach2Move implementation strategy, physical therapists utilized significantly fewer treatment sessions compared with before the implementation (15 vs 22). Anticipated cost savings were not observed.

CONCLUSIONS: This study replicated the results of an earlier trial and shows that Coach2Move leads to better mid- and long-term outcomes (physical activity, functional mobility, level of frailty) in fewer therapeutic sessions compared with UCP. Based on these and earlier findings, the implementation of Coach2Move in physical therapist practice is recommended.

IMPACT: This article describes the implementation of the Coach2Move approach, a treatment strategy that has proven to be cost-effective in a previously conducted randomized controlled trial. Implementation of Coach2Move in a real-life setting allowed an evaluation of the effects in a clinically relevant population. Coach2Move has been shown to increase physical activity, improve functional mobility, and reduce frailty more effectively in comparison with usual care physical therapy and, therefore, has application for physical therapists working with older adults in daily clinical practice.

LAY SUMMARY: Coach2Move is a new physical therapeutic approach for older adults. This manuscript describes how implementation of Coach2Move in daily clinical practice achieves better outcomes over a longer period of time against similar costs in comparison with regular physical therapy.

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