Examining the Effects of an Otago-Based Home Exercise Program on Falls and Fall Risks in an Assisted Living Facility

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Abstract

Background and Purpose:

The Otago exercise program is a strengthening, balance, and walking program designed to decrease falls among community-dwelling older adults. Few studies have examined the effects of the Otago program in an assisted living environment. The purpose of the current study was to assess the effects of an Otago-based home exercise program in decreasing falls and the risk of falls among older adults living in an assisted living facility.

Methods:

A retrospective chart review of 30 individuals residing at either of 2 assisted living facilities in central Florida was undertaken. Participants had a mean age of 87 years, were at risk for falls as determined by the Tinetti Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA), and were provided with an Otago-based intervention by home health physical therapy. The outcome measures were the number of falls in the previous year, the number of falls in the year following the intervention, and Tinetti POMA scores pre- and postintervention.

Results and Discussion:

The mean number of falls significantly decreased from 1.4 (0.9) to 0.5 (0.7) fall per person per year after home health physical therapy with the tailored Otago based-exercise intervention. The intervention resulted in a statistically significant improvement in Tinetti POMA scores from 11.8 (2.5) to 17.6 (3.8).

Conclusions:

An Otago-based strengthening, balance, and walking home exercise program can potentially be used to decrease the number of falls and the risk of falling among older adults residing in an assisted living facility.

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