Balance training in individuals with Parkinson's disease: Therapist-supervised vs. home-based exercise programme.

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Poor locomotion and balance in Parkinson's disease (PD) often diminishes independence. Accordingly, gait is considered one of the most relevant rehabilitation outcomes, and home-based balance exercises might be a viable mode of exercise delivery for individuals with PD. However, research on PD interventions rarely indicate best practices to deliver exercises. Therefore, this study endeavoured to compare the efficacy of a home-based and therapist-supervised balance programme on gait parameters, dynamic balance, balance confidence and motivation in individuals diagnosed with PD.


An experimental study design, including a cluster randomized convenience sample, of 40 participants with idiopathic PD (Hoehn and Yahr stage I-III; age: 65.0±7.7years). Participants were divided into a therapist-supervised (n=24) and home-based group (n=16). Groups received either eight weeks of balance training with an exercise therapist or a DVD. Outcome measures include the instrumented Timed-Up-and-Go, Functional Gait Analysis (FGA), Activity-specific Balance confidence (ABC) scale and Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI).


Both groups improved in stride length (p<0.05). Similar FGA improved by 9% and 16% in the therapist-supervised and home-based group, respectively (p<0.01). Only the therapist-supervised group showed improvements in ABC (p=0.051), stride velocity (p=0.0006) and cadence (p=0.046) over the intervention; the latter two were also better compared to home-based (p<0.05). Furthermore the therapist-supervised group were more motivated (p=002).


The home-based balance programme was effective in improving some aspects of gait, albeit the programme supervised by an exercise therapist included somewhat more benefits after the intervention i.e. stride velocity and cadence in individuals with mild to moderate PD.

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