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Does physical exercise improve ADL capacities in people over 65 years with moderate or severe dementia hospitalized in an acute psychiatric setting? A multisite randomized clinical trial

  • Elisabeth Bürge (a1), André Berchtold (a2), Christine Maupetit (a3), Nathalie M.-P. Bourquin (a4), Armin von Gunten (a5), Daniel Ducraux (a5), Serge Zumbach (a6), Anne Peeters (a7) and Nicolas Kuhne (a8)...

Abstract

Background:

Several studies on the effect of physical exercise on activities of daily living (ADL) for people with dementia exist; yet, data concerning the specific context of acute psychiatric hospitals remain scant. This study measured the effect of a physical exercise program on ADL scores in patients with moderate to severe dementia hospitalized in an acute psychiatric ward.

Methods:

A multicenter clinical trial was conducted in five Swiss and Belgian psychiatric hospitals. Participants were randomly allocated to either an experimental group (EG) or a control group (CG). Members of the EG received 20 physical exercise sessions (strengthening, balance, and walking) over a four-week period while members of the CG participated in social interaction sessions of equivalent duration and frequency, but without physical exercise. The effect of exercise on ADL was measured by comparing scores of the Barthel Index and the Functional Independence Measure in the EG and CG before and after the intervention, and two weeks later.

Results:

Hundred and sixty patients completed the program. Characteristics of participants of both groups were similar at the inception of the study. The mean ADL score of EG decreased slightly over time, whereas that of the CG significantly decreased compared to initial scores. Overall differences between groups were not significant; however, significant differences were found for mobility-related items.

Conclusions:

ADL scores in elderly with moderate to severe dementia deteriorate during acute psychiatric hospitalization. An exercise program delays the loss of mobility but does not have a significant impact on overall ADL scores.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Nicolas Kuhne, OT, PhD, Professor UAS, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Occupational Therapy Department, Haute école de travail social et de la santé – EESP, Ch. des Abeilles 14, 1010 Lausanne, Switzerland. Phone: +41 76 369 30 74; Fax:+41 21 651 62 88. Email: nkuhne@gmail.com.

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International Psychogeriatrics
  • ISSN: 1041-6102
  • EISSN: 1741-203X
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