Does the addition of two exercise-focussed home visits to usual care improve outcomes for patients with balance impairments? A randomized controlled trial.
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OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether two additional home visits improve outcomes for rehabilitation outpatients with balance impairments compared to usual care. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Outpatient rehabilitation. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty with balance impairments. INTERVENTIONS: Both groups received usual care including weekly group exercise over eight weeks. The intervention group received two home visits to individualize home exercises. OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome measure was the Balance Outcome Measure for Elder Rehabilitation (BOOMER) score, and secondary outcomes included force platform measures using the NeuroCom Balance Master(®), assessed at baseline, after intervention and three-month follow-up. RESULTS: There was no between-group difference for BOOMER score. There were significant between-group differences in favour of the intervention group for limits of stability reaction time at week 9 (mean difference (MD) -0.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.44 to -0.09) and week 22 (MD -0.28, 95% CI -0.45 to -0.10) and for limits of stability maximal excursion at week 9 (MD 8.66, 95% CI 1.67 to 15.65) and week 22 (MD 14.58, 95% CI 7.59 to 21.57). Significant between-group differences favoured the control group for Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction of Balance at week 9 (MD 0.40, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.66) and week 22 (MD 0.45, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.72) and step quick turn time at week 9 (MD 0.56, 95% CI 0.02 to 1.10). CONCLUSION: Two exercise-focussed home visits improved some dynamic balance outcomes in older patients with balance impairments. Some outcomes showed significant improvements with small effect sizes in favour of the control group which may be chance findings or because they completed a standard home exercise programme.
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