Impact of joint contracture on older persons in a geriatric setting: A cross-sectional study

Z Gerontol Geriatr. 2015 Oct;48(7):625-32. doi: 10.1007/s00391-015-0895-y. Epub 2015 May 20.


Background: Joint contractures are a common phenomenon in older persons and are assessed by measuring the range of motion; however, little is known about the impact of joint contractures on activities of daily living (ADL).

Objectives: The aim of the study was to identify problems related to joint contracture of older persons in a geriatric setting using the international classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF) as a framework.

Material and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between February and July 2013 in nursing homes (n=11) and geriatric rehabilitation hospitals (n=3) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The study population included persons aged ≥65 years with at least one diagnosis of joint contracture. If the participant was unable to adequately answer the best informed next of kin or staff nurse acted as a proxy. A questionnaire with 124 ICF categories was completed through face-to-face interviews with the participants.

Results: A total of 149 participants were included in the study. The mean age was 77.6±6.9 years and 69.8% were women. Problems in climbing (94.0%), walking long distances (92.6%) and kneeling (92.6%) were most frequently identified. The most often identified facilitators in environmental factors were health services, systems and policies (93.2%), whereas the leading barrier was climate (30.3%).

Conclusion: Joint contractures have a huge impact on functioning and social participation and particularly on personal mobility. From the nursing and rehabilitation perspective, assessments should not only measure joint mobility but also determine and quantify the consequences of contractures on ADL.

Keywords: Activities of daily living; Geriatric nursing; Outcome assessment health care; Questionnaire; Social participation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Climate*
  • Contracture / epidemiology*
  • Contracture / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Homes for the Aged / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sickness Impact Profile