Physiotherapist advice to older inpatients about the importance of staying physically active during hospitalization reduces sedentary time, increases daily steps and preserves mobility: a randomized trial

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

Key Points

  1. Hospitalizations tend to be associated with low levels of physical activity which can lead to loss of independence secondary to a reduction of muscle strength and functional performance.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Physical activity is associated with a 30% mortality rate reduction in older adults without chronic disease, and 47% mortality rate reduction in older adults with chronic disease (1). Being active also decreases the risk of non-mortality related morbidity, such as increased risk of injury, frailty, falling, functional dependence, and disability (2). Unfortunately, older adult’s activity levels decrease with aging, resulting in a significantly heightened risk of inactivity related mortality and morbidity (3). This risk is further amplified when an older adult is hospitalized. Older adults who are hospitalized become more sedentary and since hospitalized individuals tend to have a lower functional reserve, the hospitalization can have detrimental effects on the individual’s morbidity (4). Therefore, incorporating physical activity during a hospital stay can be an important factor in preventing some of the inactivity-related consequences listed above.

This study aimed to evaluate the impact of an orientation program for older inpatients about the importance of staying physically active during hospitalization. The researchers of this study were interested in seeing if the implementation of this program would improve activity, mobility, strength, length of stay, and complications in older inpatients.

Physical activity is associated with a 30% mortality rate reduction in older adults without chronic disease, and 47% mortality rate reduction in older adults with chronic disease.
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A simple intervention such as providing verbal and written advice to remain active during hospitalization seems to improve physical activity levels among older inpatients.

METHODS

Design: Randomized clinical trial with concealed allocation.

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