Loss of muscle strength and functional performance occur with increasing age, which is why independent living becomes increasingly difficult in older age. Because of this, older people are less resistant to what younger people perceive as a minor bodily stress – such as a period with influenza – which often causes a further loss of muscle strength due to inactivity or bed rest. An acute loss of muscle strength may be particularly damaging in older people with limited reserve-capacity in muscle strength and functional performance, and may result in acute hospitalization.
The geriatrics research focus in PMR-C is to investigate the effectiveness of physical rehabilitation modalities to increase reserve-capacity in muscle strength and functional performance during, and after acute hospitalization in older people. We systematically quantify levels of muscle strength and functional performance, as well as potential deficits in relation to acute hospitalization – along with other key clinical symptoms – to gain a detailed understanding of these impairments, and to identify “at-risk patients”. We then explore the feasibility of early, impairment-directed physical rehabilitation modalities. The rehabilitation modalities are very simple, they are designed on the basis of identified deficits, and they use a basic exercise physiology rationale. If a rehabilitation modality seems feasible, that is, can be performed progressively with sufficient compliance, the effectiveness of the rehabilitation modality is finally investigated in a randomized controlled design.
Bodilsen C, Pedersen MM, Petersen J, Beyer N, Andersen O, Lawson-Smith L, Kehlet H, Bandholm T (2013). Acute hospitalization of the old medical patient: changes in muscle strength and functional performance during hospitalization and 30 days after discharge. Am J Phys Med Rehabil (Epub ahead of print).
Pedersen MM, Bodilsen AC, Petersen J, Beyer N, Andersen O, Lawson-Smith L, Kehlet H, Bandholm T (2013). Twenty-four-hour mobility during acute hospitalization in older medical patients. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 68: 331-337.
Kristensen MT, Jakobsen TL, Nielsen JW, Jørgensen LM, Nienhuis RJ, Jønsson LR (2012). Cumulated Ambulation Score to evaluate mobility is feasible in geriatric patients and in patients with hip fracture. Dan Med J 59: A4464.