Effectiveness of physiotherapy in elderly patients with dementia: a prospective, comparative analysis

Disabil Rehabil. 2019 Apr;41(7):815-819. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1410859. Epub 2017 Nov 30.


Background: The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of physiotherapy in nursing home patients with comorbid dementia.

Materials and methods: The study group consisted of 88 patients, including 48 people with dementia and 40 people without dementia. Before and after physiotherapy, the Mini Mental State Examination and Barthel Index were used.

Results: Elderly patients without dementia achieved a greater improvement in functional status. The level of cognitive functioning at the time of admission to a nursing home, but not the patient's functional status, had a significant impact on physiotherapy efficacy.

Conclusion: Understanding the role of dementia in the rehabilitation process is important for care planning. More research is required to ascertain the efficacy of physiotherapy in people with moderate to severe dementia, including the best strategies to improve their functional status. Implications for Rehabilitation The level of cognitive function is important in the rehabilitation process, and it influences effectiveness of physiotherapy. Physiotherapy efficacy in the group of patients with coexisting dementia is lower than that in patients without dementia. Regular physiotherapy can also improve functional status in patients with coexisting dementia. The results of the study may have utilitarian implications, leading to a change in therapy regimens at physiotherapy centres treating disabled chronically ill people with coexisting dementia.

Keywords: Dementia; cognitive status; elderly; functional status; nursing home; physiotherapy efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition
  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia* / diagnosis
  • Dementia* / psychology
  • Dementia* / rehabilitation
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Nursing Homes
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome