Functional and cognitive impairment prevention through early physical activity for geriatric hospitalized patients: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Nicolás Martínez-Velilla, Alvaro Casas-Herrero, Fabrício Zambom-Ferraresi, Nacho Suárez, Javier Alonso-Renedo, Koldo Cambra Contín, Mikel López Sáez De Asteasu, Nuria Fernandez Echeverria, María Gonzalo Lázaro, Mikel Izquierdo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Frail older adults have reduced functional and physiological reserves, rendering them more vulnerable to the effects of hospitalization, which frequently results in failure to recover from the pre-hospitalization functional loss, new disability or even continued functional decline. Alternative care models with an emphasis on multidisciplinary and continuing care units are currently being developed. Their main objective, other than the recovery of the condition that caused admission, is the prevention of functional decline. Many studies on functional decline have discussed the available evidence regarding the effectiveness of acute geriatric units. Despite the theoretical support for the idea that mobility improvement in the hospitalized patient carries multiple benefits, this idea has not been fully translated into clinical practice. Methods/design: This study is a randomized clinical trial conducted in the Department of Geriatrics of a tertiary public hospital with 35 beds allocated. Hospitalized patients who meet the inclusion criteria will be randomly assigned to the intervention or control group. The intervention will consist of a multicomponent exercise training programme, which will be composed of supervised progressive resistance exercise training, balance-training, and walking for 5-7 consecutive days. During the training period, patients will be trained in 20 min sessions twice a day (morning and evening). Discussion: Functional and cognitive impairment after and during acute hospitalization in older adults is a major determinant of the later need for health resources. If our hypothesis is correct and shows that a multicomponent, individualized and progressive exercise programme provides effective therapy for improving the functional capacity of acute elderly patients hospitalized for medical pathology versus conventional care, a change of the current system of hospitalization of elderly patients with medical conditions may be justified. Trial registration: Identifier: NCT02300896 (Date of registration 19 November 2014)

Original languageEnglish
Article number112
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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