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Alzheimer Dis Assoc Disord. 2000 Oct-Dec;14(4):196-201.

Effect of a combined walking and conversation intervention on functional mobility of nursing home residents with Alzheimer disease.

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Florida Atlantic University, College of Nursing, Boca Raton 33431, USA.


Assisted walking and walking combined with conversation were compared to a conversation-only intervention in nursing home residents with Alzheimer disease. Sixty-five subjects randomly assigned to treatment group were tested at baseline and end of treatment. Subjects' mean Mini-Mental State Examination score was 10.83; mean age was 87. Treatment was given for 30 minutes three times a week for 16 weeks. Subjects in the assisted walking group declined 20.9% in functional mobility; the conversation group declined 18.8%. The combined walking and conversation treatment group declined only 2.5%. These differences in outcome were significant and appear to have been affected by differences in treatment fidelity. Subjects in the conversation treatment group completed 90% of intended treatment compared with 75% in the combined group and only 57% in the assisted walking group. Failure to treat was due to subject refusal and physical illness. The conversation component of the combined walking and conversation treatment intervention appears to have improved compliance with the intervention, thereby improving treatment outcome. Results indicate that assisted walking with conversation can contribute to maintenance of functional mobility in institutionalized populations with Alzheimer disease. Staff assigned to this task should be prepared to use effective communication strategies to gain acceptance of the intervention.

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