High‐intensity home health physical therapy among older adult Veterans: A randomized controlled trial



Older adult Veterans are at high risk for adverse health outcomes following hospitalization. Since physical function is one of the largest potentially modifiable risk factors for adverse health outcomes, our purpose was to determine if progressive, high-intensity resistance training in home health physical therapy (PT) improves physical function in Veterans more than standardized home health PT and to determine if the high-intensity program was comparably safe, defined as having a similar number of adverse events.


We enrolled Veterans and their spouses during an acute hospitalization who were recommended to receive home health care on discharge because of physical deconditioning. We excluded individuals who had contraindications to high-intensity resistance training. A total of 150 participants were randomized 1:1 to either (1) a progressive, high-intensity (PHIT) PT intervention or (2) a standardized PT intervention (comparison group). All participants in both groups were assigned to receive 12 visits (3 visits/week over 30 days) in their home. The primary outcome was gait speed at 60 days. Secondary outcomes included adverse events (rehospitalizations, emergency department visits, falls and deaths after 30 and 60-days), gait speed, Modified Physical Performance Test, Timed Up-and-Go, Short Physical Performance Battery, muscle strength, Life-Space Mobility assessment, Veterans RAND 12-item Health Survey, Saint Louis University Mental Status exam, and step counts at 30, 60, 90, 180 days post-randomization.


There were no differences between groups in gait speed at 60 days, and no significant differences in adverse events between groups at either time point. Similarly, physical performance measures and patient reported outcomes were not different at any time point. Notably, participants in both groups experienced increases in gait speed that met or exceeded established clinically important thresholds.


Among older adult Veterans with hospital-associated deconditioning and multimorbidity, high-intensity home health PT was safe and effective in improving physical function, but not found to be more effective than a standardized PT program.

from Wiley: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society: Table of Contents https://ift.tt/b0mI9t3