Long-Term Effect on Mortality of a Home Intervention that Reduces Functional Difficulties in Older Adults: Results from a Randomized Trial.

Gitlin LN, Hauck WW, Dennis MP, Winter L, Hodgson N, Schinfeld S

The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term mortality effect of a home-based intervention previously shown to reduce functional difficulties and whether survivorship benefits differ according to initial mortality risk level. 300 adults aged 70 and older with difficulties performing daily activities participated in a two-group randomized trial with survivorship followed up to 4 years from study entry. The intervention included occupational and physical therapy sessions to instruct participants in compensatory strategies, home modifications, home safety, fall recovery techniques, and balance and muscle strength exercises.

The intervention extended survivorship up to 3.5 years and maintained statistically significant differences for 2 years. Subjects at moderate mortality risk derived the most intervention benefit. Findings suggest that the intervention could be a low-cost clinical tool to delay functional decline and mortality.

Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 2009 Jan 23, online article ahead of print

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