Does monitoring change in function in community-dwelling older adults alter outcome? A randomized controlled trial
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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether information about an older person's physical functioning provided to the patient and his or her physician delays functional decline and improves health outcomes. DESIGN: A randomized controlled trial was undertaken; the assessors were not blinded to the group allocation. SETTING: The study took place in a clinic within a hospital setting. PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred and sixty-five community-dwelling people over 65 years were recruited from family practice units. INTERVENTIONS: The intervention group received assessments of physical function with feedback to the participant and the participant's family physician or functional assessments alone over 18 months. Self-report measures for health status using the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and preclinical disability were used together with performance measures which included the lower extremity performance test and muscle strength. RESULTS: There were small, statistically significant group/time interactions which included disability scores, F=4.78, P < or =0.05), and the vitality subscale of the SF-36, F=7.47, P < or =0.01). CONCLUSION: Providing information about the results of detailed assessment of physical functioning to older adults and their physicians did not show significant differences in function scores between the intervention and control groups.
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