Purpose: To assess the feasibility of a physiotherapy intervention using an interactive gaming program compared with conventional physiotherapy for hospitalised older people. Methods: Randomised controlled pilot study in a geriatric rehabilitation unit within an acute public hospital. Participants were randomly allocated to physiotherapy using an interactive gaming program (n=22) or conventional physiotherapy in a ward-based gym (n=22). Feasibility was assessed by comparing the effects of the intervention on clinical outcome measures (primary outcome: mobility as assessed by the Timed Up and Go test, secondary outcomes: safety, adherence levels, eligibility and consent rates). Results: Participants (n=44) had a mean age of 85 years (SD 4.5) and the majority (80%) were women. Univariable analyses showed no significant difference between groups following intervention. However, multivariable analyses suggested that participants using the interactive gaming program improved more on the Timed Up and Go test (p=0.048) than participants receiving conventional physiotherapy. There were no serious adverse events and high levels of adherence to therapy were evident in both groups. Only a small proportion of patients screened were recruited to the study. Conclusions: In this feasibility study, the use of a commercially available interactive gaming program by physiotherapists with older people in a hospital setting was safe and adherence levels were comparable with conventional therapy. Preliminary results suggest that further exploration of approaches using games as therapy for older people could include commonly used measures of balance and function. Implications for Rehabilitation The use of an interactive gaming program by physiotherapists with hospitalised older people appeared to be safe and resulted in improvements in balance and mobility. Use of these programs may be limited to a relatively small proportion of older people, only those able to use and interested in this technological approach to therapy.
- Randomised controlled trial
- Video games