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Sustainable effects of a low-threshold physical activity intervention on health-related quality of life in residential aged care

Authors Quehenberger V, Cichocki M, Krajic K

Received 1 July 2014

Accepted for publication 12 August 2014

Published 3 November 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 1853—1864

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S70359

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Viktoria Quehenberger, Martin Cichocki, Karl Krajic

Health promoting Long term Care, Ludwig Boltzmann Institut Health Promotion Research, Vienna, Austria

Background: Mobility is a main issue for health-related quality of life in old age. There is evidence for effects of physical activity (PA) interventions on several dimensions of health for the aged and also, some specific evidence for vulnerable populations, like residents of residential aged care. Research on low-threshold PA interventions for users of residential aged care and documentation of their sustainability are scarce. “Low threshold” implies moderate demands on the qualification of trainers and low frequency of conduct, implying low demands on the health status and discipline of users. Yet the investigation of low-threshold interventions in residential aged care seems important as they might foster participation of users and implementation in everyday routines of provider organizations. An initial study (October 2011 to June 2012) had found intervention effects on health-related quality of life. The objective of this study was to examine sustainability of the effects of a low-threshold PA intervention on health-related quality of life in residential aged care.
Methods: Data collection took place in three residential aged care homes in Vienna, Austria. At 1-year follow-up (June 2013), participants from the intervention group were interviewed using a standardized questionnaire. Using general mixed linear models and Friedman tests followed by paired t- and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, we compared outcome measures at follow-up with measures obtained at baseline and at the end of the intervention.
Results: At the 1-year follow-up assessment, participants’ (mean age 84.7 years; 89.7% female) subjective health status was still significantly increased, equaling a small sustainable intervention effect (Cohen’s d=0.38, P=0.02). In comparison with baseline, a significant decline of reported pain/discomfort (P=0.047) was found. Regarding the subdimensions of health-related quality of life, favorable trends could be observed.
Conclusion: The study indicates that effects of a low-threshold PA intervention on health-related quality of life in residential aged care can be sustainable. Addressing hindering factors like poor health status and implementing proactive support and individualization of the program to enable PA for residents might foster sustainability of effects.

Keywords: exercise group, long term care, effectiveness, follow-up, highly aged

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