Family-assisted physiotherapy for older people

Is it a way to enhance traditional physiotherapy interventions for older people?

Leaving the hospital to get back home may be a difficult moment for elderly, especially when facing various comorbidities. Programmes have been developed to help these people get back on their feet after hospitalisation and guide them through a short-term intervention involving various professionals (social workers, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and more).

Physiotherapy, as part of allied health therapies, can improve physical functions and facilitate return to daily activities for older people. However, the amount of physiotherapy interventions is often very low, and this applies just as much to transitional programmes specifically implemented for this population.

Family-assisted therapy has been studied as a way to enhance interventions for older people but no RCT assessing family-assisted therapy to enhance physiotherapy for older adults with multimorbidity has been conducted so far. The purpose of the present study was therefore to investigate the safety and effectiveness of augmenting physiotherapy with family-assisted therapy for older people moving from hospital to their own place of living, with an overall objective to collect and prepare a more developed and strongly built trial.

The authors found that adding physiotherapy via family-assisted therapy seems to be safe, improves clinical outcomes and appears as feasible for older people transitioning from hospital to the community.


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