INTRODUCTION & AIMS

Supporting people with Parkinson’s Disease to remain active when living in residential aged care (RAC) is assumed to have benefits, such as reducing falls risk, improving ability to transfer independently, and reducing time spent being sedentary. However, many RAC-facilities are under-resourced making it difficult for staff to support residents with exercise. Accredited exercise physiologists (AEP) enable residents to improve or maintain movement through exercise. The aim of this study was to establish feasibility and value of AEP-services for people with Parkinson’s Disease in RAC.

METHODS

A 12-week AEP-led exercise program was delivered at multiple RAC-sites across Perth. An individualised exercise plan was designed for each participant, comprising 2 x 50-minute supervised group sessions per week, together with a 15-minute unsupervised morning program. Baseline and follow-up testing was undertaken by the AEP, inclusive of balance (mini-Balance-Evaluation-System-Test (miniBESTest)), mobility (2-minute-walk-distance, Actigraph), fatigue (PD fatigue scale) and quality of life. Descriptive analysis will be presented, reflecting the total hours of AEP-training provided, room attendance records from RAC-staff, and changes in pre-post balance, mobility, falls, quality of life, depression, behaviour, and fatigue.

RESULTS

To date, five participants have enrolled (3 women; 2 men) (recruitment is ongoing). Individual results for baseline testing showed the range of abilities and challenges for these participants (Mini-BESTest range of 5-16 and 2-minute walk distance of range 0-61). Not all tests could be completed by all participants. Post-test and change scores will be presented.

CONCLUSION

Due to the clinical heterogeneity of the disease, the AEP is required to prescribe according to each individual needs whilst maintaining the fidelity of the exercise intervention. Challenges have been presented with conducting research in this environment including recruitment of participants due to level of cognition, conflicts with participant scheduling, operational needs of the facility and facility closures (Covid- and gastro-outbreak).

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Author notes

First author’s contact: [email protected]