Mr Craig Whitbourne1, Mr Kenneth Koh1, Mrs Nora Sheilds2, Mr Mark Tacey3
1Northern Health, Watsonia, Australia
2Latrobe University, Bundoora, Australia
3University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
Title: Does the addition of two home visits to usual care improve outcomes for patients with balance impairments?
Aim: Investigate if the addition to usual care of two home visits to prescribe an individually tailored home exercise program (HEP) would improve outcomes for patients with balance impairments.
Method: Randomised controlled trial recruited 50 participants (32 female; mean age 74 years) with balance impairments. All participants attended a one-hour group exercise program once a week for eight weeks. The control group also received a HEP and the intervention group received two home visits by a physiotherapist to prescribe a HEP. The primary outcomes measured before and after intervention (week 9) and three-months after intervention (week 20) were the Balance Outcome Measure for Elder Rehabilitation (BOOMER) score and force platform balance measures using the NeuroCom Balance Master®.
Results: No difference between groups for BOOMER score at week 9 or week 22. Significant between group differences in favour of the intervention group for limits of stability reaction time at week 9 (MD -0.27, 95% CI -0.44 to -0.09) and week 22 (MD -0.28, 95% CI -0.45 to -0.10) and for the limits of stability maximal excursion scores at week 9 (MD 8.66, 95% CI 1.67 to 15.65) and week 22 (MD 14.58, 95% CI 7.59 to 21.57). Significant between group differences in favour of the control group for the Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction of Balance at week 9 (MD 0.40, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.66) and week 22 (MD 0.45, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.72).
Significance of findings to allied health: Two home visits in addition to usual care, did not improve outcomes in older patients with balance impairments.