Comparison of Telecommunication, Community, and Home-Based Tai Chi Exercise Programs on Compliance and Effectiveness in Elders at Risk for Falls.

Author: Wu G, Keyes L, Callas P, Ren X, Bookchin B.
Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science and Department of Bioengineering, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT.
Conference/Journal: Arch Phys Med Rehabil.
Date published: 2010 Jun
Other: Volume ID: 91 , Issue ID: 6 , Pages: 849-856 , Word Count: 303

Wu G, Keyes L, Callas P, Ren X, Bookchin B. Comparison of telecommunication, community, and home-based Tai Chi exercise programs on compliance and effectiveness in elders at risk for falls. OBJECTIVE: To compare the adherence to and effectiveness of Tai Chi exercise program through a live, interactive, telecommunication-based exercise (Tele-ex) with that of a similar program through a community center-based exercise (Comm-ex) and a home video-based exercise (Home-ex) among community-dwelling elders who are at risk for falls. DESIGN: Three groups randomized controlled trial with pretests and posttests. SETTING: Exercise programs were community-based, and the outcome measures were laboratory-based. PARTICIPANTS: Adults (N=64) age 65+ years with positive fall history in the previous year and/or significant fear of falling. INTERVENTION: A 24-form, Yang-style Tai Chi for 15 weeks, 3 hours a week. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Exercise compliance, number of falls, fear of falling (Activities-specific Balance Confidence [ABC] score), self-perceived health (Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-36]), Timed Up & Go (TUG), single leg stance (SLS), and body sway during quiet stance (medial-lateral foot center of pressure [ML-COP]). RESULTS: Tele-ex and Comm-ex groups demonstrated significantly higher exercise attendance and in-class practice time than the Home-ex group (P<.01) and significant reductions in the mean number of falls and injurious falls (P<.01). There were significant improvements posttraining in SLS, ABC, ML-COP, and Physical Health subscore of the SF-36 (P<.05). Both Tele-ex and Comm-ex groups demonstrated larger improvements than the Home-ex group in TUG, ML-COP, and the Social Function, Mental Health, and Physical Health subscores of the MOS SF-36. CONCLUSION: Compared with the Home-ex, the Tele-ex and Comm-ex groups are better in exercise compliance, fall reduction and balance and health improvements. Tele-ex is an effective, affordable, and acceptable choice of exercise for elders. Copyright © 2010 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.