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Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy in the Home Can Reduce Mortality

By Kim Warchol | Posted on 04.17.2009 | 0 comments

Source: J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Mar;57(3):476-81. Epub 2009 Jan 23.

Long-term effect on mortality of a home intervention that reduces functional difficulties in older adults: results from a randomized trial. Gitlin LN, Hauck WW, Dennis MP, Winter L, Hodgson N, Schinfeld S. This study set was conducted to evaluate the long-term mortality effect of a home-based intervention (previously shown to reduce functional difficulties) and whether survivorship benefits differ according to initial mortality risk level. Three-hundred nineteen adults aged 70 and older who lived in the community and had difficulties performing daily activities were in the study. Occupational and physical therapy sessions were provided to instruct participants in compensatory strategies, home modifications, home safety, fall recovery techniques, and balance and muscle strength exercises. The study findings suggest a relatively brief, non-pharmacologic intervention that helps older people use cognitive, behavioral, and environmental strategies to reach self-identified functional goals has survivorship benefits that persist. The study concluded the intervention extended survivorship up to 3.5 years and maintained statistically significant differences for 2 years. Subjects at moderate mortality risk derived the most intervention benefit. Findings suggest that the intervention could be a low-cost clinical tool to delay functional decline and mortality.


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