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Examining the Effects of an Otago-Based Home Exercise Program on Falls and Fall Risks in an Assisted Living Facility

Beato, Morris PT, DPT1; Dawson, Nicole PT, PhD1; Svien, Lana PT, PhD2; Wharton, Tracy PhD, LCSW3

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy: October/December 2019 - Volume 42 - Issue 4 - p 224–229
doi: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000190
Research Reports

Background and Purpose: The Otago exercise program is a strengthening, balance, and walking program designed to decrease falls among community-dwelling older adults. Few studies have examined the effects of the Otago program in an assisted living environment. The purpose of the current study was to assess the effects of an Otago-based home exercise program in decreasing falls and the risk of falls among older adults living in an assisted living facility.

Methods: A retrospective chart review of 30 individuals residing at either of 2 assisted living facilities in central Florida was undertaken. Participants had a mean age of 87 years, were at risk for falls as determined by the Tinetti Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA), and were provided with an Otago-based intervention by home health physical therapy. The outcome measures were the number of falls in the previous year, the number of falls in the year following the intervention, and Tinetti POMA scores pre- and post-intervention.

Results and Discussion: The mean (SD) number of falls significantly decreased from 1.4 (0.9) to 0.5 (0.7) fall per person per year after home health physical therapy with the tailored Otago based-exercise intervention. The intervention resulted in a statistically significant improvement in Tinetti POMA scores from 11.8 (2.5) to 17.6 (3.8).

Conclusions: An Otago-based strengthening, balance, and walking home exercise program can potentially be used to decrease the number of falls and the risk of falling among older adults residing in an assisted living facility.

1Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Department of Health Professions, University of Central Florida, Orlando.

2Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls.

3School of Social Work, University of Central Florida, Orlando.

Address correspondence to: Morris Beato, PT, DPT, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Department of Health Professions, 12805 Pegasus Dr, HPA I, Room 255A, Orlando, FL 32816 (

Some findings from this article were presented at the 2016 Exercise and Physical Activity in Aging Conference (ExPAAC II).

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Bill Andrews was the Decision Editor.

© 2019 Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, APTA
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