Post-Rehab At-Home Exercise Boosts Mobility after Hip Fracture

A home-based exercise program modestly improved physical function in older adults who completed a standard rehabilitation program after a hip fracture, according to a recent JAMA study.

Half of nearly 200 older adults with limited function after finishing rehab were randomized to home exercises; the other half received in-home and phone-based nutrition education. The exercise group learned functional tasks (such as standing from a chair and climbing a step) during three hour-long home visits by a physical therapist, and then performed the tasks on their own three times weekly for six months. After six months, the exercise group had better scores of physical function — as measured by the Short Physical Performance Battery and Activity Measure for Post-Acute Care — than the control group.

While the clinical importance of these findings remains to be established, the results suggest that an extended period of structured at-home rehabilitation could help older patients sidestep some of the long-term functional limitations that often persist following a hip fracture.

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