Objective: Falls, loss of health-related quality of life and physical capacity, reduced participation in activities of daily living, and increased fear of falling are all potential outcomes for older adults discharged from hospital. A low-cost video based exercise programme may address this.
Design: This study was a randomized controlled trial with blinded outcomes assessment and a six-month follow-up.
Subjects and setting: Participants were older adults (>65 years) using a mobility aid discharged from a tertiary hospital in Brisbane, Australia, without referral for community-based rehabilitation services.
Intervention: A digital video disk-based programme encompassing six exercise types each with six levels of difficulty. A home visit from a project physiotherapist was conducted to ensure patient safety. Control group patients received usual care.
Main measures: Falls, health-related quality of life, participation in activities of daily living, physical capacity and fear of falling.
Results: Study participants (n = 53, 19 intervention, 34 control) experienced decreasing health-related quality of life, several falls (72), and lower levels of participation in activities of daily living over the six-month follow-up. The intervention group did not differ significantly from the control group in terms of the outcomes examined, though a non-significant reduction in the rate of falls was observed. Intervention group participants complied with the exercise programme well during the first two weeks following discharge from hospital but then reduced their compliance levels thereafter.
Conclusions: The intervention may be beneficial for reducing the rate of falls in this patient population though further research with a larger sample size is indicated.