Given the rapidly ageing population, interest is growing in robots to enable older people to remain living at home. We conducted a systematic review and critical evaluation of the scientific literature, from 1990 to the present, on the use of robots in aged care. The key research questions were as follows: (1) what is the range of robotic devices available to enable older people to remain mobile, independent, and safe? and, (2) what is the evidence demonstrating that robotic devices are effective in enabling independent living in community dwelling older people? Following database searches for relevant literature an initial yield of 161 articles was obtained. Titles and abstracts of articles were then reviewed by 2 independent people to determine suitability for inclusion. Forty-two articles met the criteria for question 1. Of these, 4 articles met the criteria for question 2. Results showed that robotics is currently available to assist older healthy people and people with disabilities to remain independent and to monitor their safety and social connectedness. Most studies were conducted in laboratories and hospital clinics. Currently limited evidence demonstrates that robots can be used to enable people to remain living at home, although this is an emerging smart technology that is rapidly evolving.
Purpose: To investigate the extent to which different single-limb support (SLS) parameters predict mobility performance following traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Methods: Seventy-one people with mobility limitations following TBI were assessed for balance and mobility performance in a human movement laboratory. Participants performed a clinical test of static balance that involved balancing in SLS on each leg with eyes open and eyes closed. Mobility performance was measured by self-selected gait speed and performance on the High Level Mobility Scale (HiMAT). Dynamic stability during walking was measured by quantifying lateral centre of mass (COM) displacement, width of base of support, and proportion of double-support stance time.
Results: Total static balance scores were strongly correlated with HiMAT scores (r=0.57, p<0.001) and lateral COM displacement (r=−0.51, p<0.001). Despite these strong correlations, however, balance scores explained only 32% of the variance in advanced mobility skills (r2=0.32) and 26% of the variance in lateral COM displacement (r2=0.26).
Conclusions: Since mobility performance varied widely for people with similar levels of balance, SLS time was not able to predict dynamic stability during gait, self-selected gait speed, or advanced mobility skills in people with TBI.
balance; gait; mobility; traumatic brain injury; démarche; équilibre; lésion cérébrale traumatique; mobilité
Older adults who have received inpatient rehabilitation often have significant mobility disability at discharge. Physical activity levels in rehabilitation are also low. It is hypothesized that providing increased physical activity to older people receiving hospital-based rehabilitation will lead to better mobility outcomes at discharge.
A single blind, parallel-group, multisite randomized controlled trial with blinded assessment of outcome and intention-to-treat analysis. The cost effectiveness of the intervention will also be examined. Older people (age >60 years) undergoing inpatient rehabilitation to improve mobility will be recruited from geriatric rehabilitation units at two Australian hospitals. A computer-generated blocked stratified randomization sequence will be used to assign 198 participants in a 1:1 ratio to either an ‘enhanced physical activity’ (intervention) group or a ‘usual care plus’ (control) group for the duration of their inpatient stay. Participants will receive usual care and either spend time each week performing additional physical activities such as standing or walking (intervention group) or performing an equal amount of social activities that have minimal impact on mobility such as card and board games (control group). Self-selected gait speed will be measured using a 6-meter walk test at discharge (primary outcome) and 6 months follow-up (secondary outcome). The study is powered to detect a 0.1 m/sec increase in self-selected gait speed in the intervention group at discharge. Additional measures of mobility (Timed Up and Go, De Morton Mobility Index), function (Functional Independence Measure) and quality of life will be obtained as secondary outcomes at discharge and tertiary outcomes at 6 months follow-up. The trial commenced recruitment on 28 January 2014.
This study will evaluate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of increasing physical activity in older people during inpatient rehabilitation. These results will assist in the development of evidenced-based rehabilitation programs for this population.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12613000884707 (Date of registration 08 August 2013); ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01910740 (Date of registration 22 July 2013).
mobility limitation; rehabilitation; exercise therapy; hospitalization; randomized controlled trial
Purpose: To investigate the frequency of physiotherapy and occupational therapy assessment of the upper limb (UL) in people with Parkinson disease (PD) and to identify the impairments and activity limitations assessed and the methods used. Method: A custom-designed questionnaire was used to survey physiotherapists and occupational therapists with previous experience in managing people with PD, using targeted recruitment to invite physiotherapy conference attendees, clinicians employed in movement disorders programmes, and practitioners in neurology and gerontology to respond either on paper or online. Results: Of the 190 respondents (122 physiotherapists, 68 occupational therapists), 54% reported consistently assessing the UL. A majority (>60%) assessed impairments specific to PD, but few quantified these using standardized measures. Activity limitations, largely relating to manual dexterity, were assessed using observational analysis (61%), non-standardized timed activities (46%), and standardized outcome measures (61%), most generic or developed for evaluating other neurological conditions. More than 10% of respondents could not identify an appropriate standardized measure. Conclusions: Slightly more than half of respondents regularly assessed the UL. Respondents reported widespread use of non-standardized methods to assess PD-specific impairments. Standardized measures were more frequently used to evaluate activity limitations, but despite the unique movement disorders associated with PD, the clinimetric properties of most of the tools identified have not been established in this population. Education and further clinimetric investigation of measures in use are needed to facilitate evidence-based practice in this area.
occupational therapy; outcome assessment (health care); Parkinson disease; upper extremity; ergothérapie; évaluation de résultats (soins de santé); maladie de Parkinson; membres supérieurs; spécialité de la physiothérapie
Purpose: This study describes the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of Australians living with Parkinson disease (PD) and compares the findings to international reports. Methods: The Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) was used to measure HRQOL in 210 individuals with PD living in Australia. In parallel, a tailored literature search identified previous studies on HROQL in people with PD. A quantitative meta-analysis with a random-effects model was used to compare the HRQOL of individuals with PD living in Australia and other countries. Results: The mean PDQ-39 summary index (SI) score for this sample of Australians with PD was 20.9 (SD 12.7). Ratings for the dimension of social support and stigma were significantly lower than ratings for bodily discomfort, mobility, activities of daily living, cognition, and emotional well-being. Comparing the Australian and international PD samples revealed a significant heterogeneity in overall HRQOL (I2=97%). The mean PDQ-39 SI scores for Australians were lower, indicating better HRQOL relative to samples from other countries. Conclusions: This Australian sample with PD perceived their HRQOL as poor, although it was less severely compromised than that of international samples. While further research is required, these findings can inform the clinical decision-making processes of physiotherapists.
Australia; meta-analysis; Parkinson disease; quality of life; Australie; maladie de Parkinson; méta-analyse; physiothérapie; qualité de vie
The purpose of this trial was to investigate the effectiveness of an exercise rehabilitation program commencing during ICU admission and continuing into the outpatient setting compared with usual care on physical function and health-related quality of life in ICU survivors.
We conducted a single-center, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled trial. One hundred and fifty participants were stratified and randomized to receive usual care or intervention if they were in the ICU for 5 days or more and had no permanent neurological insult. The intervention group received intensive exercises in the ICU and the ward and as outpatients. Participants were assessed at recruitment, ICU admission, hospital discharge and at 3-, 6- and 12-month follow-up. Physical function was evaluated using the Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) (primary outcome), the Timed Up and Go Test and the Physical Function in ICU Test. Patient-reported outcomes were measured using the Short Form 36 Health Survey, version 2 (SF-36v2) and Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL) Instrument. Data were analyzed using mixed models.
The a priori enrollment goal was not reached. There were no between-group differences in demographic and hospital data, including acuity and length of acute hospital stay (LOS) (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score: 21 vs 19; hospital LOS: 20 vs 24 days). No significant differences were found for the primary outcome of 6MWT or any other outcomes at 12 months after ICU discharge. However, exploratory analyses showed the rate of change over time and mean between-group differences in 6MWT from first assessment were greater in the intervention group.
Further research examining the trajectory of improvement with rehabilitation is warranted in this population.
The trial was registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12605000776606.
Critical illness; Exercise; Health-related quality of life; Physical function; Physiotherapy; Rehabilitation
People with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD) frequently have low activity levels, poor mobility and reduced quality of life. Although increased physical activity may improve mobility, balance and wellbeing, adherence to exercises and activity programs over the longer term can be challenging, particularly for older people with progressive neurological conditions such as PD. Physical activities that are engaging and enjoyable, such as dancing, might enhance adherence over the long term. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial of Irish set dancing compared with routine physiotherapy for people with mild to moderately severe PD.
Twenty-four people with idiopathic PD referred for movement rehabilitation were randomized to receive standard physiotherapy exercises or Irish set dancing classes once per week plus a weekly home program for 6 months (12 in each group). The feasibility and safety of the proposed RCT protocol was the main focus of this evaluation. The primary outcome was motor disability measured by the motor component of the UPDRS, which was assessed prior to and after therapy by trained assessors blinded to group assignment. The Timed Up and Go, the Berg Balance Scale and the modified Freezing of Gait Questionnaire were secondary measures. Quality of life of the people with PD was evaluated using the PDQ-39.
Both the Irish set dancing and physiotherapy exercise program were shown to be feasible and safe. There were no differences between groups in the rate of adverse events such as falls, serious injuries, death or rates of admission to hospital. The physiotherapists who provided usual care remained blind to group allocation, with no change in their standard clinical practice. Compliance and adherence to both the exercise and dance programs were very high and attrition rates were low over the 6 months of therapy. Although improvements were made in both groups, the dance group showed superior results to standard physiotherapy in relation to freezing of gait, balance and motor disability.
Irish dancing and physiotherapy were both safe and feasible in this sample from Venice, with good adherence over a comparatively long time period of 6 months. A larger multi-centre trial is now warranted to establish whether Irish set dancing is more effective than routine physiotherapy for enhancing mobility, balance and quality of life in people living with idiopathic PD.
EudraCT number 2012-005769-11
Parkinson’s disease; Dancing; Rehabilitation; Exercise therapy; Balance; Randomized controlled trial; Geriatrics
The relationship between health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers is little understood and any effects on caregiver strain remain unclear. This paper examines these relationships in an Australian sample.
Using the generic EuroQol (EQ-5D) and disease-specific Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39 Item (PDQ-39), HRQoL was evaluated in a sample of 97 people with PD and their caregivers. Caregiver strain was assessed using the Modified Caregiver Strain Index. Associations were evaluated between: (i) caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL; (ii) caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain, and; (iii) between caregiver strain and care-recipient HRQoL.
No statistically significant relationships were found between caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL, or between caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain. Although this Australian sample of caregivers experienced relatively good HRQoL and moderately low strain, a significant correlation was found between HRQoL of people with PD and caregiver strain (rho 0.43, p < .001).
Poor HRQoL in people with PD is associated with higher strain in caregivers. Therapy interventions may target problems reported as most troublesome by people with PD, with potential to reduce strain on the caregiver.
The high incidence of falls associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) increases the risk of injuries and immobility and compromises quality of life. Although falls education and strengthening programs have shown some benefit in healthy older people, the ability of physical therapy interventions in home settings to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s has not been convincingly demonstrated.
180 community living people with PD will be randomly allocated to receive either a home-based integrated rehabilitation program (progressive resistance strength training, movement strategy training and falls education) or a home-based life skills program (control intervention). Both programs comprise one hour of treatment and one hour of structured homework per week over six weeks of home therapy. Blinded assessments occurring before therapy commences, the week after completion of therapy and 12 months following intervention will establish both the immediate and long-term benefits of home-based rehabilitation. The number of falls, number of repeat falls, falls rate and time to first fall will be the primary measures used to quantify outcome. The economic costs associated with injurious falls, and the costs of running the integrated rehabilitation program from a health system perspective will be established. The effects of intervention on motor and global disability and on quality of life will also be examined.
This study will provide new evidence on the outcomes and cost effectiveness of home-based movement rehabilitation programs for people living with PD.
The trial is registered on the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000390381).
Parkinson’s disease; Accidental falls; Randomized controlled trial; Falls prevention
Older adults receiving inpatient rehabilitation have low activity levels and poor mobility outcomes. Increased physical activity may improve mobility. The objective of this Phase II study was to evaluate the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of enhanced physical activity in older adults receiving rehabilitation.
Patients admitted to aged care rehabilitation with reduced mobility were randomized to receive usual care or usual care plus additional physical activity, which was delivered by a physiotherapist or physiotherapy assistant. The feasibility and safety of the proposed RCT protocol was evaluated. The primary clinical outcome was mobility, which was assessed on hospital admission and discharge by an assessor blinded to group assignment. To determine the most appropriate measure of mobility, three measures were trialled; the Timed Up and Go, the Elderly Mobility Scale and the de Morton Mobility Index.
The protocol was feasible. Thirty-four percent of people admitted to the ward were recruited, with 47 participants randomised to a control (n = 25) or intervention group (n = 22). The rates of adverse events (death, falls and readmission to an acute service) did not differ between the groups. Usual care therapists remained blind to group allocation, with no change in usual practice. Physical activity targets were met on weekdays but not weekends and the intervention was acceptable to participants. The de Morton Mobility Index was the most appropriate measure of mobility.
The proposed RCT of enhanced physical activity in older adults receiving rehabilitation was feasible. A larger multi-centre RCT to establish whether this intervention is cost effective and improves mobility is warranted.
The trial was registered with the ANZTCR (ACTRN12608000427370).
Mobility limitation; Rehabilitation; Exercise therapy; Hospitalization; Randomized controlled trial
Both efficacy and clinical feasibility deserve consideration in translation of research outcomes. This study evaluated the feasibility of rehabilitation programs within the context of a large randomized controlled trial of physical therapy. Ambulant participants with Parkinson's disease (PD) (n = 210) were randomized into three groups: (1) progressive strength training (PST); (2) movement strategy training (MST); or (3) control (“life skills”). PST and MST included fall prevention education. Feasibility was evaluated in terms of safety, retention, adherence, and compliance measures. Time to first fall during the intervention phase did not differ across groups, and adverse effects were minimal. Retention was high; only eight participants withdrew during or after the intervention phase. Strong adherence (attendance >80%) did not differ between groups (P = .435). Compliance in the therapy groups was high. All three programs proved feasible, suggesting they may be safely implemented for people with PD in community-based clinical practice.
People with Parkinson's disease often have walking difficulty, and this is likely to be exacerbated while walking in places in the community, where people are likely to face greater and more varied challenges. This study aims to understand the facilitators and the barriers to walking in the community perceived by people with Parkinson's disease. This qualitative study involved 5 focus groups (n = 34) of people with Parkinson's disease and their partners residing in metropolitan and rural regions in Queensland, Australia. Results found that people with PD reported to use internal personal strategies as facilitators to community walking, but identified primarily external factors, particularly the environmental factors as barriers. The adoption of strategies or the use of facilitators allows people with Parkinson's disease to cope so that participants often did not report disability.
Although physical therapy and falls prevention education are argued to reduce falls and disability in people with idiopathic Parkinson's disease, this has not yet been confirmed with a large scale randomised controlled clinical trial. The study will investigate the effects on falls, mobility and quality of life of (i) movement strategy training combined with falls prevention education, (ii) progressive resistance strength training combined with falls prevention education, (iii) a generic life-skills social program (control group).
People with idiopathic Parkinson's disease who live at home will be recruited and randomly allocated to one of three groups. Each person shall receive therapy in an out-patient setting in groups of 3-4. Each group shall be scheduled to meet once per week for 2 hours for 8 consecutive weeks. All participants will also have a structured 2 hour home practice program for each week during the 8 week intervention phase. Assessments will occur before therapy, after the 8 week therapy program, and at 3 and 12 months after the intervention. A falls calendar will be kept by each participant for 12 months after outpatient therapy.
Consistent with the recommendations of the Prevention of Falls Network Europe group, three falls variables will be used as the primary outcome measures: the number of fallers, the number of multiple fallers and the falls rate. In addition to quantifying falls, we shall measure mobility, activity limitations and quality of life as secondary outcomes.
This study has the potential to determine whether outpatient movement strategy training combined with falls prevention education or progressive resistance strength training combined with falls prevention education are effective for reducing falls and improving mobility and life quality in people with Parkinson's disease who live at home.
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN12606000344594
Difficulty performing more than one task at a time (dual tasking) is a common and disabling problem experienced by people with Parkinson disease (PD). If asked to perform another task when walking, people with PD often take shorter steps or walk more slowly. Currently there is uncertainty about whether clinicians should teach people with PD to avoid dual tasking or whether they should encourage them to practice dual tasking with the hope that practice will lead to enhanced performance. This study will address this issue by comparing single to dual task gait training.
Methods and design
A prospective randomised clinical trial is being conducted. Sixty participants with idiopathic PD will be recruited, provided they score I-IV on the modified Hoehn and Yahr (1967) scale, and fulfil other inclusion criteria. Participants will be randomly allocated to either a single or dual task gait training group. Both groups will receive 12 hours of walking training over 4 weeks. The single task group will undertake gait training with cueing strategies to increase step length. The dual task group will train to improve step length when walking and performing a variety of added tasks. Both groups will receive a tailored home program for 6 months. Blinded assessors will conduct four assessments: two baseline assessments, one post intervention and one at 6 months follow-up. The primary outcome measure will be step length when dual tasking over 8 m. Secondary outcome measures include: spatiotemporal gait parameters when walking under single and dual task conditions, measures of executive function, the timed up and go test, measures of community mobility, and quality of life. All analyses will be based on intention to treat principle.
This trial will examine the immediate and longer term effect of dual task walking training as compared to single task training in people with idiopathic PD, at the impairment, activity, and participation levels. It has the potential to identify a new intervention that may improve and maintain walking beyond the laboratory. The results of this trial will provide guidance for clinicians in the development of walking training programs for people with PD.
Despite the finding that Parkinson disease (PD) occurs in more than one in every 1000 people older than 60 years, there have been few attempts to quantify how deficits in impairments, activity, participation, and quality of life progress in this debilitating condition. It is unclear which tools are most appropriate for measuring change over time in PD.
Methods and design
This protocol describes a prospective analysis of changes in impairments, activity, participation, and quality of life over a 12 month period together with an economic analysis of costs associated with PD. One-hundred participants will be included, provided they have idiopathic PD rated I-IV on the modified Hoehn & Yahr (1967) scale and fulfil the inclusion criteria. The study aims to determine which clinical and economic measures best quantify the natural history and progression of PD in a sample of people receiving services from the Victorian Comprehensive Parkinson's Program, Australia. When the data become available, the results will be expressed as baseline scores and changes over 3 months and 12 months for impairment, activity, participation, and quality of life together with a cost analysis.
This study has the potential to identify baseline characteristics of PD for different Hoehn & Yahr stages, to determine the influence of disease duration on performance, and to calculate the costs associated with idiopathic PD. Valid clinical and economic measures for quantifying the natural history and progression of PD will also be identified.
Cost of illness studies show that Parkinson disease (PD) is costly for individuals, the healthcare system and society. The costs of PD include both direct and indirect costs associated with falls and related injuries.
This protocol describes a prospective economic analysis conducted alongside a randomised controlled trial (RCT). It evaluates whether physical therapy is more cost effective than usual care from the perspective of the health care system. Cost effectiveness will be evaluated using a three-way comparison of the cost per fall averted and the cost per quality adjusted life year saved across two physical therapy interventions and a control group.
This study has the potential to determine whether targetted physical therapy as an adjunct to standard care can be cost effective in reducing falls in people with PD.
The current investigation examined the inter- and intra-tester reliability of knee joint angle measurements using a flexible Penny and Giles Biometric® electrogoniometer. The clinical utility of electrogoniometry was also addressed.
The first study examined the inter- and intra-tester reliability of measurements of knee joint angles in supine, sitting and standing in 35 healthy adults. The second study evaluated inter-tester and intra-tester reliability of knee joint angle measurements in standing and after walking 10 metres in 20 healthy adults, using an enhanced measurement protocol with a more detailed electrogoniometer attachment procedure. Both inter-tester reliability studies involved two testers.
In the first study, inter-tester reliability (ICC[2,10]) ranged from 0.58–0.71 in supine, 0.68–0.79 in sitting and 0.57–0.80 in standing. The standard error of measurement between testers was less than 3.55° and the limits of agreement ranged from -12.51° to 12.21°. Reliability coefficients for intra-tester reliability (ICC[3,10]) ranged from 0.75–0.76 in supine, 0.86–0.87 in sitting and 0.87–0.88 in standing. The standard error of measurement for repeated measures by the same tester was less than 1.7° and the limits of agreement ranged from -8.13° to 7.90°. The second study showed that using a more detailed electrogoniometer attachment protocol reduced the error of measurement between testers to 0.5°.
Using a standardised protocol, reliable measures of knee joint angles can be gained in standing, supine and sitting by using a flexible goniometer.
It has been reported that only half of the non-ambulatory stroke patients admitted to inpatient rehabilitation in Australia learn to walk again . Treadmill walking with partial weight support via an overhead harness is a relatively new intervention that is designed to train walking. The main objective of this randomised controlled trail is to determine whether treadmill walking with partial weight support via an overhead harness is effective at establishing independent walking (i) more often, (ii) earlier and (iii) with a better quality of walking, than current physiotherapy intervention for non-ambulatory stroke patients.
A prospective, randomised controlled trial of inpatient intervention with a 6 month follow-up with blinded assessment will be conducted. 130 stroke patients who are unable to walk independently early after stroke will be recruited and randomly allocated to a control group or an experimental group. The control group will undertake 30 min of routine assisted overground walking while the experimental group will undertake 30 min of treadmill walking with partial weight support via an overhead harness per day. The proportion of participants achieving independent walking, the quality of walking, and community participation will be measured. The study has obtained ethical approval from the Human Research Ethics Committees of each of the sites involved in the study.
Given that the Australian population is ageing and people after stroke can expect to live for longer, attainment of safe, independent walking is more likely to be associated with long-term health and well being. In its National Research Priorities, the Government has recognised that it will be important to promote healthy ageing and that this endeavour will be underpinned by research. The results of this study will clearly identify effective intervention to establish early quality walking, thereby promoting an increase in community participation in the longer term.
The protocol for this study is registered with US NIH Clinical trials registry (NCT00167531)