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BMC geriatrics


BACKGROUND: Reduced falls and fall risks have been observed among older adults referred to the HOP-UP-PT (Home-based Older Persons Upstreaming Prevention-Physical Therapy) program. The purpose of this study was to describe outcomes of HOP-UP-PT program participants and then to compare these outcomes to non-participants.

METHODS: Six Michigan senior centers referred adults ≥65 years who were at-risk for functional decline or falls. 144 participants (n = 72 per group) were randomized to either the experimental group (EG) or the control group (CG). Physical therapists (PTs) delivered physical, environmental, and health interventions to the EG over nine encounters (six in-person, three telerehabilitation) spanning seven months. The CG participants were told to continue their usual physical activity routines during the same time frame. Baseline and re-assessments were conducted at 0-, 3-, and 7-months in both groups. Descriptions and comparisons from each assessment encounter were analyzed.

RESULTS: Participants ages were: EG = 76.6 (7.0) years and CG = 77.2 (8.2). Baseline measures were not significantly different apart from the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) which favored the EG (P = 0.02). While no significant differences were identified in the survey outcomes or home environment assessments, significant differences in favor of the EG were identified in common fall risk indicators including the Timed Up and Go (P = 0.04), Four Test Balance Scale (P = 0.01), and the modified SPPB (P = 0.02) at the 3-month assessment visit. However, these differences were not sustained at the 7-month assessment as, notably, both groups demonstrated positive improvements in the Four Test Balance Score and SPPB. For individuals at a moderate/high fall risk at baseline, 47.8% of CG reported falling at seven months; whereas, only 6.3% of EG participants meeting the same criteria reported a fall after HOP-UP-PT participation.

CONCLUSIONS: A prevention-focused multimodal program provided by PTs in older adults' homes proved beneficial and those with the highest fall risk demonstrated a significant decrease in falls. A collaboration between PTs and community senior centers resulted in upstreaming care delivery that may reduce both the financial and personal burdens associated with falls in an older adult population.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study was retrospective registered at Clinical , TRN: NCT04814459 on 24/03/2021.

Medical Subject Headings

Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Exercise; Exercise Therapy; Humans; Physical Therapy Modalities; Postural Balance; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors

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