Prehabilitation interventions for older adults: an integrative review

West J Nurs Res. 2015 Jan;37(1):103-23. doi: 10.1177/0193945914551006. Epub 2014 Sep 25.


Prehabilitation aims to increase physical activity and improve physical fitness prior to elective surgery to improve postoperative outcomes. This integrative review examined the effect of prehabilitation randomized clinical trial (RCT) interventions on physical activity behavior and physical fitness in older adults. Seven studies met the search criteria. In two studies, effect sizes from baseline to the preoperative period exceeded d = .2, specifically in physical activity and in the physical-fitness dimensions of strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, and flexibility. For the effect sizes between baseline and the postoperative period, five studies had positive effects greater than d = .2 in strength, flexibility, balance, and speed. This review demonstrated that prehabilitation continues to be important to physical activity and physical-fitness research because it may improve physical-fitness measures and have implications for multiple dimensions of health in older adults.

Keywords: older adult; physical activity; physical fitness; prehabilitation; surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Prognosis*
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Treatment Outcome*