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Open Access Study protocol

Mobility of Vulnerable Elders (MOVE): study protocol to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of a mobility intervention in long-term care facilities

Susan E Slaughter1*, Carole A Estabrooks1, C Allyson Jones2 and Adrian S Wagg3

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

2 Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

3 Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

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BMC Geriatrics 2011, 11:84  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-84

Published: 16 December 2011

Abstract

Background

Almost 90% of residents living in long-term care facilities have limited mobility which is associated with a loss of ability in activities of daily living, falls, increased risk of serious medical problems such as pressure ulcers, incontinence and a significant decline in health-related quality of life. For health workers caring for residents it may also increase the risk of injury. The effectiveness of rehabilitation to facilitate mobility has been studied with dedicated research assistants or extensively trained staff caregivers; however, few investigators have examined the effectiveness of techniques to encourage mobility by usual caregivers in long-term care facilities.

Methods/Design

This longitudinal, quasi-experimental study is designed to demonstrate the effect of the sit-to-stand activity carried out by residents in the context of daily care with health care aides. In three intervention facilities health care aides will prompt residents to repeat the sit-to-stand action on two separate occasions during each day and each evening shift as part of daily care routines. In three control facilities residents will receive usual care. Intervention and control facilities are matched on the ownership model (public, private for-profit, voluntary not-for-profit) and facility size. The dose of the mobility intervention is assessed through the use of daily documentation flowsheets in the health record. Resident outcome measures include: 1) the 30-second sit-to-stand test; 2) the Functional Independence Measure; 3) the Health Utilities Index Mark 2 and 3; and, 4) the Quality of Life - Alzheimer's Disease.

Discussion

There are several compelling reasons for this study: the widespread prevalence of limited mobility in this population; the rapid decline in mobility after admission to a long-term care facility; the importance of mobility to quality of life; the increased time (and therefore cost) required to care for residents with limited mobility; and, the increased risk of injury for health workers caring for residents who are unable to stand. The importance of these issues is magnified when considering the increasing number of people living in long-term care facilities and an aging population.

Trial Registration

This clinical trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (trial registration number: NCT01474616).