Network-based geriatric rehabilitation for frail elderly people: Feasibility and effects on subjective health and pain at one year
Katariina Hinkka, Sirkka-Liisa Karppi, Timo Pohjolainen, Taina Rantanen, Pauli Puukka and Reijo Tilvis
Objective: To study the feasibility and 1-year effects on subjective health and symptoms of a network-based geriatric rehabilitation intervention for frail elderly people.
Design: A randomized, controlled trial.
Subjects: A total of 741 frail elderly people who lived at home, aged > 65 years, without severe cognitive impairment (Mini Mental State Examination < 18), and eligible to receive Pensioners’ Care Allowance (a benefit that is independent of personal income or insurance). The setting included 41 municipalities and 7 rehabilitation centres in Finland.
Methods: Over a period of 8 months the intervention group received network-based rehabilitation for 3 in-patient periods (totalling 21 days) at rehabilitation centres and a home visit by a professional. Both groups received standard social and health services locally. Functional Independence Measure, subjective health, common symptoms and pain were assessed at baseline and 1-year follow-up.
Results: After baseline measurements, 33 of those allocated to rehabilitation withdrew from the study. Of the 343 intervention subjects, 276 attended all 3 in-patient periods. At one year, there were no differences in symptoms between the groups. Subjective health was improved in the intervention group and impaired in the control group (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: The network-based geriatric rehabilitation programme was feasible for use among the frail elderly people and improved their subjective health.
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