A pilot study exploring the compliance and sustainability of an exercise program for residents in a long-term care facility in Le—n, Nicaragua.

Purpose/Hypothesis : Less than one-third of the older population in the US engage in low-to-moderate intensity physical activity as recommended by current guidelines. In developing countries, where there is limited access to healthcare and resources, physical exercise as a means to promote health and wellness is an unfamiliar concept. The School of Health Science in collaboration with the Albert Schweitzer Institute (ASI) at Quinnipiac University has been providing health profession students with service opportunities to developing countries. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the compliance and sustainability of a group exercise program for residents of a long-term care facility in Le—n, Nicaragua.Number of Subjects : Forty-three residents of the Asilo de Ancianos were screened to participate in a group exercise program. Fifteen met the inclusion criteria and agreed to participate. A local volunteer was trained by investigators to conduct a therapeutic exercise program modeled after Healthy Steps Ð The Lebed Method.Materials/Methods : Critical to this work is the development of international partnerships (general host partner for project logistics and specific partner for study/service purpose). ASI established a formal partnership with Alianza Americana in Le—n, Nicaragua and together formed a relationship with the Asilo de Ancianos. Design of exercise program was modeled after Healthy Steps - the Lebed Method with emphasis on culturally-appropriate music, props, and resident-specific physical and cognitive abilities. Compliance was determined by weekly attendance. The Timed-up-and-go (TUG) Test was used to assess functional mobility and dynamic balance. Heart rate, blood pressure, pulse oximetry and weight were used to measure overall wellbeing. Sustainability was evaluated by compliance data and qualitatively by semi-structured interviews and focus groups.Results : Subjects demonstrated significant improvements in TUG scores following the 12-week program (p=.018). Residents exhibited compliance and enthusiasm evidenced by active participation in weekly classes and reported an increase in self-worth.Conclusions : Group exercise is a viable option for enhancing quality of life and physical health in underserved populations. This study demonstrated the ability to implement a sustainable intervention designed to be enjoyable by participants with the collaboration of host community partners.Clinical Relevance : The APTA Code of Ethics state our responsibility to address healthcare needs within our global community. Utilizing skill of exercise prescription and role as educator, physical therapists can design and implement safe and effective wellness programs for specific populations.

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  • Control #: 1726124
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2014
  • Authors: Maureen Helgren, Xantiana Abio, Jillian Cohen, Erin Sabato, Maria Denisse Argenal
  • Keywords: global health|sustatinability|health and wellness

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