A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial of a Specific Cueing Program for Falls Management in Persons With Parkinson Disease and Freezing of Gait

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Background and Purpose:Freezing of gait (FOG) increases fall risk in persons with Parkinson disease (PD). Cueing improves gait parameters associated with freezing, but it is unclear whether a cueing program can address falling.Methods:We used a parallel-groups delayed- (n = 12) or immediate-start (n = 9) randomized controlled trial design to evaluate a cueing exercise program for FOG and falls in participants with PD. Each group received preintervention falls monitoring, followed by a 6-month standardized, home-based, cueing exercise and education program. Participant questionnaires rated program value and compliance. Freezing was measured with the New Freezing of Gait Questionnaire (NFOGQ). Falls were recorded by weekly diaries.Results:Self-reported adherence was high; 83% of participants reported exercising after 6 months. Participants reported that the program was beneficial (89%), walking improved (78%), falls were fewer (73%), and self-management of freezing improved (61%). Mean (standard deviation) NFOGQ scores were 14.8 (5.0), for the immediate (n = 10), and 16.0 (7.7) for the delayed group (n = 9), after 6 months (difference −1.0 [95% confidence interval, −7.9 to 6.0; P = 0.78]). With baseline NFOGQ scores as a covariate, the estimate of difference was −0.7 (95% confidence interval, −6.1 to 4.7; P = 0.79). The relative rate of falls for immediate compared with delayed groups was 1.22 (95% confidence interval, 0.45 to 3.26).Conclusions:The cueing program intervention is acceptable and participants feel they improve; however, this small feasibility study lacks statistical power to detect important changes in falls rates or FOG severity. A larger study is warranted to further investigate the potential to influence FOG and falls.Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (Supplemental Digital Content 1, http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A105).

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