Objective: To determine whether a home-based physical therapy (PT) program prevented decline in several higher-level measures of physical function among physically frail, community-living older persons.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: General community.
Participants: Persons (N=188) who were physically frail and aged 75 years or older.
Intervention: A home-based PT program (ie, prehabilitation) that focused primarily on improving underlying impairments in physical capabilities.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs); mobility, as determined by a modified version of the Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment; timed rapid gait and timed chair stands; and integrated physical performance, as determined by a modified version of the Physical Performance Test, were assessed at baseline, 7 months, and 12 months.
Results: As compared with participants in the educational control group, participants in the intervention group had reductions in IADL disability of 17.7% at 7 months (P=.036) and 12.0% at 12 months (P=.143) and had gains, ranging from 7.2% to 15.6%, in mobility and integrated physical performance at 7 and 12 months.
Conclusions: Our home-based prehabilitation program offered modest but consistent benefits for the prevention of decline in several higher-level measures of physical function.