Purpose: It has been shown that morbidity and mortality, associated with falls in older persons, can be reduced by physical activity. Many previous programs for prevention of falls were too demanding to be implemented. We aimed to test the feasibility and acceptability of a program of regular lay people, assisted outdoor walking for nursing home residents including a possible impact on the prevention of falls. Patients and methods: We included five nursing homes; whereof three were assigned for the intervention and two for the control group. Inclusion criteria were age above 65 years and increased risk of falls. The intervention group (n = 32) benefited from regular assisted outdoor walking, the control group (n = 20) did not practice physical activities. We evaluated participants at the start of the study (T0) and after 6 months (T1) for history of falls, physical and cognitive impairment. In addition, we performed qualitative interviews with nursing home managers. Results: The program was evaluated positively by the participating nursing homes. Half of the participants reported an improvement in their general condition, general mood and walking ability. There was a slight intervention effect on depressive symptoms, but no differences between intervention and control group in the proportion of falls, in regard to risk of falls and functional status (daily activities). Conclusions: This study shows the feasibility of implementing a simple program of outdoor walking for older people in nursing homes. A sufficiently powered randomized controlled trial is necessary to prove the effectiveness and safety of our approach. (C) 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS and European Union Geriatric Medicine Society. All rights reserved.
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