Home exercise program compliance of service members in the deployed environment: an observational cohort study

Mil Med. 2015 Feb;180(2):186-91. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-14-00306.


Background: Home exercise programs (HEP) are an integral part of any physical therapy treatment plan, but are especially important in theater. The primary aim of this study was to determine if the number of exercises prescribed in a HEP was associated with compliance rate of Service Members (SM) in theater with a secondary aim of determining variables associated with compliance and noncompliance.

Materials/methods: Subjects were 155 deployed SM undergoing physical therapy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clinical evaluation and prescription of a HEP were performed. Pathologic, demographic, and treatment data were obtained. Subjects returned to the clinic 1 week later to demonstrate their HEP. Subjects' performance of each prescribed exercise was rated on a 12-point scale to quantify compliance.

Results: 2 variables were found to be significantly associated with rate of compliance. These were the number of exercises prescribed (p = 0.02) and if a subject left the base at least once per week (p = 0.01).

Conclusions: SM prescribed 4 or more exercises had a lower rate of compliance than those prescribed 2 or fewer. SM who left the base at least once per week also had a lower rate of compliance.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghan Campaign 2001-
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / standards*
  • Humans
  • Iraq War, 2003-2011
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / adverse effects
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / standards
  • Self Care / methods
  • Self Care / standards
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control*