Physiological improvements and health benefits during an exercise-based comprehensive rehabilitation program in medically complex patients.

Dept. of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
Exercise immunology review (Impact Factor: 7.05). 02/2006; 12:86-96.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To determine the effects of an exercise-based comprehensive rehabilitation program on the physiological, health, and cost benefit in medically complex patients.
Case series
Comprehensive rehabilitation centers.
Elderly chronically ill men (n = 39, age = 75.3 +/- 1.4) and women (n = 74, age = 76.5 +/- 0.9 years).
Patients participated in individualized physical therapy with therapeutic exercises (stretching, strengthening, endurance, balance, sitting and standing dynamic exercises) three times/week for three months under the supervision of a physician.
Upper (back) and lower (leg flexors) extremity strength, aerobic power as measured by metabolic equivalents (METS) at 80% of age predicted maximal heart rate (APMHR), physical functioning and mental health as assessed by the Short Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaire, and medical events (falls, physician visits, and hospitalizations) questionnaire was collected at baseline and after three months of the program.
Strength measures improved by approximately 30% (P < 0.05) as well as aerobic power improved by approximately 25% (P < 0.05) over the three-month period. There were significant improvements in two of the SF-36 Physical Component Scales: Physical Functioning (P < 0.05) and Role Physical (P < 0.05); plus, there were significant improvements in all four of the Mental Component Scales: Vitality (P < 0.05), Social Functioning (P < 0.05), Role Emotional (P < 0.05), and Mental Health (P < 0.05). There were significant reductions in fall rate (P < 0.05), physician visits (P < 0.05), and hospitalizations (P < 0.05).
Patients improve physical capacity, which result in improvements in health status with concurrent reductions in healthcare utilization during a comprehensive rehabilitation program.

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