Everyone enjoys the “thrill of the hunt.” Even rehabilitation professionals feel excitement when searching for (and finding) new evidence-based examination and intervention strategies to help with daily patient care. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation is once again here to make your “hunt” just a little bit easier. We are thrilled to present to you our third “Thieves' Market” issue. As we previously discussed, a Thieves' Market is where people bring some of their borrowed or owned treasures of all different types for others to admire, critique, and adopt as their own. As we bring together research articles from all over the world, it is our hope that you will gain knowledge, skill, and insight into the world of evidence-based geriatric rehabilitation.
This issue contains articles from countries all over the world including Poland, Brazil, Iran, Turkey, Spain, and the United States. How exciting it is to know that dedicated rehabilitation professionals from many countries are doing clinical research on patients, analyzing the data, and presenting the results in our peer-reviewed journal. An underlying theme in our journal is “functional independence.” We, as rehabilitation professionals, must help maintain (or restore) functional independence in our older generation. Providing evidence-based examination and intervention techniques is imperative for our patients' well-being and for our society. We all want, and need, for our older patients to thrive socially and economically as long as they physically can. That is where we as rehabilitation professionals can step in to help.
Do you have patients who are on the brink of regressing from independent to dependent? Have you ever been people watching at an airport or mall and seen an older woman walking with shuffling gait and no push-off? You immediately think, “This person has decreased plantar flexion strength and some balance deficits.” You take it a step further and think, “...If only I could screen her and give her some pointers of things she can do to help herself.” In this issue, we present the development of a brand new functional assessment tool that evaluates the 5 key aspects of fitness central to optimal aging: posture, flexibility, balance, endurance, and strength. Dr Molly Laflin, PhD, and Dr Carole Lewis, DPT, PhD, PT, MPA, MSG, GCS, GTC, FSOAE, FAPTA, developed the “Functional Standards for Optimal Aging: The Moving Target Screen,” which provides a comprehensive picture of a person's function before disability and problems begin.
This jewel of an issue is packed full of many other informative and applicable research articles that answer a variety of questions. Do you have patients with degenerative adult scoliosis or adolescent idiopathic scoliosis? If so, you must read the article on 2 yoga poses that may reduce scoliosis in these patients. For your patients affected by stroke, have you ever wondered whether selected clinical factors such as age, sex, type of stroke, or side of paresis could affect the functional performance of patients in the early period after stroke? Is it possible that a dance-based program produces balance and functional performance gains in older adult women? Did you know that many of your adult patients have difficulty seeing in dimly lit rooms or facilities while out in the community? Does isometric muscle strength of the upper and lower extremities have an effect on independence of activities of daily living in older people living in nursing homes? Does dance and tai chi affect functional mobility, balance, and agility in patients with Parkinson disease? Is the Timed Up and Go test suitable to predict risk of falling? Do you consider whether your patient has a visual impairment when trying to implement falls prevention interventions? Did you know that implementing an early resistive exercise regimen for your patients with total knee arthroplasty is accompanied by greater balance improvement? As you can see, this issue is packed full of evidence-based treasures for you to use with your patients to hopefully improve their personal functional outcomes.
It is our hope that reading Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation will provide strategies for you to implement evidence in your practice. It is our responsibility as rehabilitation professionals to be ready and prepared to effectively treat these amazing aging humans, who seem to be increasing in numbers each day. Our patients depend on us and trust us to use scientific knowledge and research in our decision making for their treatments. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to “hunt.” We feel confident that you will be “thrilled” with this issue.
—Wendy Powers James, PT
Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation