The study find that the older Americans are hospitalized for hip fractures, a debilitating injury that can severely and permanently impact mobility. Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) studied two types of home-based interventions and discovered that these treatments are effective in helping individuals regain their ability to walk, but not enough to do every day functions like crossing the street. Jay Magaziner, Ph.D., MSHyg; Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UMSOM was the Principal Investigator for this research and Rebecca L Craik, PT, Ph.D., FAPTA, Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Arcadia University was Co-Principal Investigator.

The older Americans

The research was a multidisciplinary partnership involving investigators from epidemiology; physical therapy, geriatrics, orthopedics, gerontology, health economics, biostatistics and health services research. Therefore It is conduct at UMSOM; Arcadia University and UConn Health at the University of Connecticut. Because The research compared two different types of multi-component home-based physical therapy programs; both of which showed significant improvements in the ability to walk but not enough to be independent in the wider community. But This research; which was published today in JAMA; involved 210 participants 60 years old and older recovering from hip fractures.

One group received aerobic; strength and balance training. The other group received nerve stimulation and active range of motion exercises. Both groups received as many as three regular weekly home visits from a physical therapist over a 16-week period. In addition; the participants received nutritional counseling and daily vitamin D, calcium and multivitamin supplements. The research measured the participants so-called “community ambulation,” which is the ability to cross a street before a traffic light changes.

Physical therapy programs

To determine community ambulation, participants were timed to see how far they could walk 300 meters (approximately the length of 3 football fields); in a six-minute period after the 16-week treatment. Researchers found that after all the regular in-home interventions, 23% of the participants in the group receiving aerobic, strength and balance training could walk more than 300 meters in six minutes. In the other group, which received nerve stimulation and range of motion exercises, 18% of the participants could walk 300 meters or more in a six-minute timeframe; a difference that is not consider statistically significant.

“Both groups showed significant improvement; which highlights the importance of multi-component home-based interventions,” said Dr. Magaziner. Because “The equal level of professional attention both groups received ;may explain why the difference in the percentage of patients becoming community ambulators between the two groups was relatively small.”