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Exercise training for rehabilitation and secondary prevention of falls in geriatric patients with a history of injurious falls

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 49(1): 10-20, January

Exercise training for rehabilitation and secondary prevention of falls in geriatric patients with a history of injurious falls

OBJECTIVE: To determine the safety and efficacy of an exercise protocol designed to improve strength, mobility, and balance and to reduce subsequent falls in geriatric patients with a history of injurious falls. DESIGN: A randomized controlled 3-month intervention trial, with an additional 3-month follow-up. SETTING: Out-patient geriatric rehabilitation unit. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty-seven female geriatric patients (mean age 82+-4.8 years; range 75-90) admitted to acute care or inpatient rehabilitation with a history of recurrent or injurious falls including patients with acute fall-related fracture. INTERVENTION: Ambulatory training of strength, functional performance, and balance 3 times per week for 3 months. Patients of the control group attended a placebo group 3 times a week for 3 months. Both groups received an identical physiotherapeutic treatment 2 times a week, in which strengthening and balance training were excluded. MEASUREMENTS: Strength, functional ability, motor function, psychological parameters, and fall rates were assessed by standardized protocols at the beginning (T1) and the end (T2) of intervention. Patients were followed up for 3 months after the intervention (T3). RESULTS: No training-related medical problems occurred in the study group. Forty-five patients (79%) completed all assessments after the intervention and follow-up period. Adherence was excellent in both groups (intervention 85.4+-27.8% vs control 84.2+-29.3%). The patients in the intervention group increased strength, functional motor performance, and balance significantly. Fall-related behavioral and emotional restrictions were reduced significantly. Improvements persisted during the 3-month follow-up with only moderate losses. For patients of the control group, no change in strength, functional performance, or emotional status could be documented during intervention and follow-up. Fall incidence was reduced nonsignificantly by 25% in the intervention group compared with the control group (RR:0.753 CI:0.455-1.245). CONCLUSIONS: Progressive resistance training and progressive functional training are safe and effective methods of increasing strength and functional performance and reducing fall-related behavioral and emotional restrictions during ambulant rehabilitation in frail, high-risk geriatric patients with a history of injurious falls.

Accession: 010629908

PMID: 11207837

DOI: 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2001.49004.x

Download PDF Full Text: Exercise training for rehabilitation and secondary prevention of falls in geriatric patients with a history of injurious falls

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