Using smartphone TechnolOGy to support an EffecTive Home ExeRcise intervention to prevent falls amongst community dwelling older adults: The TOGETHER feasibility RCT

Helen Hawley-Hague, Carlo Tacconi, Sabato Mellone, Ellen Martinez, Fan Bella Yang, Ting Li Su, Lorenzo Chiari, Jorunn Helbostad, Chris Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction
Falls have major implications for quality-of-life, independence and cost to health services. Strength and balance training has been found to be effective in reducing the rate/risk of falls, as long as there is adequate fidelity to the evidence-based programme. The aims of this study were to: (1) assess the feasibility of using the ‘Motivate Me’ and ‘My Activity Programme’ intervention to support falls rehabilitation when delivered in practice (2) assess study design and trial procedures for the evaluation of the intervention.
Methods
A two-arm, pragmatic feasibility randomised controlled trial was conducted with five health service providers in the UK. Patients aged 50+ years eligible for a falls rehabilitation exercise programme from community services were recruited and received either: (1) standard service with a smartphone for outcome measurement only or (2) standard service plus the ‘Motivate Me’ and ‘My Activity Programme’ apps. The primary outcome was feasibility of the intervention, study design and procedures (including recruitment rate, adherence and drop-out). Outcome measures include balance, function, falls, strength, fear of falling, health related quality of life, resource use and adherence, measured at baseline, three and six month post-randomisation. Blinded assessors collected the outcome measures.
Results
24 patients were randomised to control group, 26 to intervention group, mean age 77.6 (Range 62 to 92) years. We recruited 37.5% of eligible participants across the five clinical sites. 77% in the intervention group completed their full exercise programme (including the use of the app). Response rate for outcome measures at six months were 77%-80% across outcome measures, but this was effected by the COVID19 pandemic. There was a mean 2.6 ± 1.9 point difference between groups in change in BERG balance score from baseline to three months and mean 4.4 ± 2.7 point difference from baseline to six months in favour of the intervention group. Less falls (1.8 ± 2.8 vs 9.1 ± 32.6) and less injurious falls (0.1 ± 0.5 vs 0.4 ± 0.6) in the intervention group and higher adherence scores at three (17.7 ± 6.8 vs 13.1 ± 6.5) and six months (15.3 ± 7.8 vs 14.9 ± 7.8). There were no related adverse events. Health professionals and patients had few technical issues with the apps.
Conclusions
The motivational apps and trial procedures were feasible for health professionals and patients. There are positive indications from outcome measures in the feasibility trial and key criteria for progression to full trial were met.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalGerontology
Early online date5 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2022

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