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A Randomized Trial Comparing 2 Types of In-Home Rehabilitation for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Pilot Study

McFarland, Carol PT, MS1; Willson, Dan PT, MS1; Sloan, John PhD2; Coultas, David MD3

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy: July/September 2012 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 132–139
doi: 10.1519/JPT.0b013e31824145f5
Research Reports

Background: Pulmonary rehabilitation has been shown to be effective for improving quality of life and function in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but has not been studied extensively in homebound patients. Furthermore, little is known about the effectiveness of specific types of home-based interventions.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of in-home rehabilitation programs for individuals with COPD considered homebound according to Medicare definition and to compare outcomes of 2 different rehabilitation interventions.

Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to 2 home-based interventions including aerobic conditioning (group A) or functional strength training (group B), which were conducted over 8 weeks. In addition, all patients received COPD self-management education. Outcome measures were collected after completion of the intervention and after 16 weeks and included the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ), Geriatric Depression Scale, and 2-minute walk test.

Results: Of 41 patients enrolled, 24 completed the 8-week intervention. On average, all CRQ quality-of-life domains improved in both groups, with the largest improvements in the CRQ-dyspnea domain. Overall, at 16 weeks, 80% of group A and 71% of group B patients had clinically significant improvements in the CRQ-dyspnea domain. Furthermore, depression scores improved in both groups. Only group A had a clinically significant improvement in walking distance.

Conclusion: The results of this pilot study suggest that both forms of home-based rehabilitation may improve disease-specific quality of life in homebound patients with COPD.

1Paradigm Rehab and Nursing, Tyler, Texas.

2The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, Texas.

3The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler, Tyler, Texas.

Address correspondence to: Carol McFarland, Paradigm Rehab and Nursing, 777 S Broadway, Tyler, TX 75701;

The funding support was provided by the Fair Foundation of Tyler, Texas.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2012 the Section on Geriatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association
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