Falls are one of the world’s top 10 risks associated with disability in people older than 60 years. They also represent more than two-thirds of adverse events in hospitals, mainly affecting patients older than 65 years. Physical activity is a central intervention in fall prevention for older people. Whatever the details of the prevention strategy that is adopted (ie, how a mono- or multifactorial intervention is evaluated, the category of person the intervention targets, and where it is used), it is important to ensure that the proposed intervention is feasible and usable for the patient and the health care team.
The primary objective is to study the usability of carrying out a physical activity intervention, including 3 types of exercises, in older patients hospitalized in a geriatric acute care unit and categorized according to 3 fall risk levels: low, moderate, and high. The secondary objectives are to determine the difficulty of the physical exercise for patients with different fall risk levels, to study the health care team’s perceptions of the intervention’s feasibility, and to study the benefits for patients.
This is an open-label, unicenter, nonrandomized, usability prospective clinical trial. The intervention tested is a daily physical activity program. It consists of 3 types of physical exercise: staying out of bed for at least 3 hours, performing balance exercises while standing for 2 minutes, and the Five Times Sit to Stand transfer exercise. These exercises are carried out under the supervision of the health care team. Fall risk in the patients is classified with the Brief Geriatric Assessment tool. The exercise program starts on the second day of hospitalization after inclusion in the study. Patient assessment continues until the last day of hospitalization or the 20th day of hospitalization, whichever is earlier. For each fall-risk group and each type of exercise, the intervention will be defined as usable if at least 80% of the participants complete 75% or more of the exercises (ie, the ratio between the number of days when the patient completes a type of exercise and the total number of hospitalization days). The perceived feasibility by the health care team is measured with 2 scales, measuring perceived difficulty and time spent with the patient. The intervention benefit is evaluated using the performance of the Five Times Sit to Stand test before and after the intervention.
The first patient was recruited on March 16, 2015. The study enrolled 266 patients, including 75 with low fall risk, 105 with moderate risk, and 85 with high risk.
We have not yet analyzed the results, but our observations suggest that the usability of each type of exercise for a given patient will depend on their fall risk level.