Effect of an in-home occupational and physical therapy intervention on reducing mortality in functionally vulnerable older people: Preliminary findings

Laura N. Gitlin, Walter W. Hauck, Laraine Winter, Marie P. Dennis, Richard Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of a multicomponent intervention on mortality and the role of control-oriented strategy use as the change mechanism. DESIGN: Two-group randomized design with survivorship followed for 14 months. Participants were randomized to intervention or a no-treatment control group. SETTING: Urban, community-living older people. PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred nineteen people aged 70 and older with functional difficulties. INTERVENTION: Occupational therapy and physical therapy sessions involving home modifications, problem solving, and training in energy conservation, safe performance, balance, muscle strength, and fall recovery techniques. MEASUREMENTS: Survival time was number of days between baseline interview and date of death or final interview if date unknown. Control-oriented strategy use was measured using eight items. RESULTS: Intervention participants exhibited a 1% rate of mortality, compared with a 10% rate for no-treatment control participants (P=.003, 95% confidence interval=2.4-15.04%). At baseline, those who subsequently died had more days hospitalized and lower control-oriented strategy use 6 months before study enrollment than survivors. No intervention participants with previous days hospitalized (n=31) died, whereas 21% of control group counterparts did (n=35; P=.001). Although intervention participants with low and high baseline control strategy use had lower mortality risk than control participants, mortality risk was lower for intervention participants with low strategy use at baseline (P=.007). CONCLUSION: An occupational and physical therapy intervention to ameliorate functional difficulties may reduce mortality risk in community-dwelling older people overall and benefit those most compromised. Instruction in control-oriented strategies may account for the intervention's protective effects on survivorship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-955
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume54
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Control
  • Frailty
  • Home care
  • Home modification
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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