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The Rehabilitation Enhancing Aging Through Connected Health Prehabilitation Trial

      Abstract

      Objective

      To evaluate the proof of concept of an innovative model of physical therapy Rehabilitation Enhancing Aging through Connected Health (REACH) and evaluated its feasibility and effect on physical function and health care utilization.

      Design

      Quasi-experimental 12-month clinical trial.

      Setting

      Two outpatient rehabilitation centers.

      Participants

      Community-dwelling older primary care patients with a treatment arm undergoing the intervention (n=75; mean age=77±5.9y; 54% women) and propensity matched controls derived from a longitudinal cohort study (n=430; mean age=71±7.0y; 68% women) using identical recruitment criteria (N=505).

      Intervention

      Combined outpatient and home PT augmented with a commercially available app and computer tablet.

      Measurements

      Primary outcomes included a feasibility questionnaire, exercise adherence, self-reported function, and the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB). Secondary outcomes included the rates of emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations.

      Results

      Among REACH participants, we observed a 9% dropout rate. After accounting for dropouts, with propensity matching, n=68 treatments and n=100 controls were analyzed. Over the 12-month study duration, 85% of participants adhered to the exercise program an average of 2 times a week and evaluated the treatment experience favorably. In comparison to controls, after 1 year of treatment and within multivariable regression models, REACH participants did not manifest a significant difference in patient reported function (group x time effect 1.67 units, P=.10) but did manifest significant differences in SPPB (group x time effect 0.69 units, P=.03) and gait speed (group x time effect .08m/s, P=.02). In comparison to controls, after 1 year, the rate of ED visits (group x time treatment rate=0.27, P<.004) were significantly reduced, but a significant reduction in hospitalizations was not observed.

      Conclusion

      The REACH intervention is feasible and has proof of concept in preventing functional decline and favorably affecting health care utilization. Evaluation on a larger scale is warranted.

      Keywords

      List of abbreviations:

      BMI (body mass index), Boston RISE (Boston Rehabilitative Impairment Study of the Elderly), ED (emergency department), LLWS (Live Long Walk Strong), LLFDI (Late Life Function and Disability Instrument), PT (physical therapist), REACH (Rehabilitation Enhancing Aging through Connected Health), SPPB (Short Physical Performance Battery)
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