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Promoting physical activity in geriatric patients with cognitive impairment after discharge from ward-rehabilitation: a feasibility study

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The aim of the present study was to examine adherence and acceptance of a home-based program to promote physical activity (PA) in older persons with cognitive impairment (CI) following inpatient rehabilitation. Sixty-three older persons (≥ 65 years) with mild to moderate CI (Mini-Mental State Examination score 17–26), allocated to the intervention group of a randomized, controlled intervention trial underwent a 12-week home-based PA intervention including (1) physical training and outdoor walking to improve functional fitness and (2) motivational strategies (goal-setting, pedometer-based self-monitoring, social support delivered by home visits, phone calls) to promote PA. Training logs were used to assess adherence to physical training, outdoor walking and to motivational strategies (goal-setting, pedometer-based self-monitoring). Acceptance (subjective feasibility and effectiveness) of the program components was assessed by a standardized questionnaire. Mean adherence rates over the intervention period were 63.6% for physical training, 57.9% for outdoor walking, and between 40.1% (achievement of walking goals), and 60.1% (pedometer-based self-monitoring) for motivational strategies. Adherence rates significantly declined from baseline to the end of intervention (T1: 43.4–76.8%, T2: 36.1–51.5%, p values<.019). Most participants rated physical training, outdoor walking, goal-setting, and pedometer self-monitoring as feasible (68.2–83.0%) and effective (63.5–78.3%). Highest ratings of self-perceived effectiveness were found for home visits (90.6%) and phone calls (79.2%). The moderate to high adherence to self-performed physical training and motivational strategies proved the feasibility of the home-based PA program in older persons with CI following inpatient rehabilitation.

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This work was funded by the Social and Private Long-Term Care Insurance (Soziale und Private Pflegeversicherung) and the Municipal Association for Youth and Social Affairs in Baden-Württemberg (Kommunalverband für Jugend und Soziales Baden-Württemberg) (Grant No: 80221-208-009-01-01). Funders had no role in study concept and design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and preparation of the manuscript.

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Eckert, T., Bongartz, M., Ullrich, P. et al. Promoting physical activity in geriatric patients with cognitive impairment after discharge from ward-rehabilitation: a feasibility study. Eur J Ageing (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-020-00555-w

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  • Adherence
  • Feasibility
  • Physical activity
  • Geriatrics
  • Transitional care
  • Cognitive impairment