It is understood that the key to successful rehabilitation is physical therapy and regular exercise, however, the question that remains is how much additional physical therapy is right for elderly patients? For these patients, leaving home to go to physical therapy sessions can be a difficult task, but doing exercises regularly at home without a therapist can be similarly daunting. New research, published in the September 10, 2019 edition of JAMA Network, attempts to uncover the link between the quantity of therapy and quality of life post-operatively, “Effect of a Multicomponent Home-Based Physical Therapy Intervention on Ambulation After Hip Fracture in Older Adults: The CAP Randomized Clinical Trial.”

Co-author Kathleen Mangione, P.T., Ph.D., with the Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Sciences, Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, explained the purpose of her study, “Many patients after hip fracture still are not returning to their prior level of function after hip fracture. They transition from hospital to subacute rehab to home, but physical therapy stops for many of them once they are independent in the home.”1

The research, conducted at Arcadia University, University of Connecticut Health Center, and University of Maryland, involved a total of 210 patients aged 60 years and older. The training intervention group (n = 105) received aerobic, strength, balance, and functional training. The active control group (n = 105) received transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and active range-of-motion exercises. Both groups received 2 to 3 home visits from a physical therapist weekly for 16 weeks; nutritional counseling; and daily vitamin D, calcium, and multivitamins.1 The study uncovered encouraging results. “Both groups improved by clinically meaningful amounts with additional therapy,” said Mangione. “There is room for clinically important improvement in patients even three months after fracture. We need to determine whether patients have reached their full potential for recovery prior to discharge.”1

The good news is surface technology is making it easier and more fun for total joint patients to complete physical therapy at home. TracPatch, a two-piece device that adheres to a patient’s leg above and below the knee following total knee surgery, was created to continuously collect activity data including range of motion (ROM), exercise compliance, pain scores, PROM survey submissions, and ambulation, through a centralized patient app. The data is then sent to the cloud and shared with the patient’s healthcare provider through the healthcare provider app and web portal.

TracPatch gives patients the ability to monitor their recovery progress in real-time and sends exercise reminders to keep them on track. The technology makes it easy for patients and healthcare providers to communicate remotely and it was created to empower patients to reach their recovery goals and give healthcare providers the ability to provide more individualized care for each patient. In the near future, TracPatch will expand to Spine, Hip, ACL and more. The sky is the limit for Surface Sensor Technology in healthcare. For more information about TracPatch contact us today.

References

  1. Hofheinz, E. (2019, October 7). Large Joints Feature. Retrieved October 11, 2019, from https://ryortho.com/breaking/how-much-more-therapy-should-elderly-patients-get/.