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J Adv Nurs. 2007 Jan;57(2):181-91.

Effects of a range-of-motion exercise programme.

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1
Cardinal Tien College of Nursing, Taipei, Taiwan.

Abstract

AIM:

This paper reports an evaluation of a range-of-motion exercise programme aimed at improving joint flexibility, activity function, perception of pain, and depressive symptoms in a sample of stroke survivors in long-term care facilities.

BACKGROUND:

The benefits of physical rehabilitation for stroke survivors have been well established. There is, however, little empirical data on the effects of a simple nurse-led range-of-motion exercise programme in improving function for these people.

METHOD:

A randomized controlled trial was conducted in 1999 with 59 bedridden older stroke survivors in residential care. Participants were randomly assigned to usual care or one of two intervention groups. The 4-week, twice-per-day, 6 days-per-week range-of-motion exercise protocols were similar in both intervention groups, and consisted of full range-of-motion exercises of the upper and lower extremities. To test the effect of different degrees of staff involvement, in intervention group I, a Registered Nurse was present to supervise participants performing the exercises, while intervention group II involved a Registered Nurse physically assisting participants to achieve maximum range-of-motion within or beyond their present abilities.

RESULTS:

Both intervention groups had statistically significant improvement in joint angles, activity function, perception of pain and depressive symptoms compared with the usual care group (P < 0.05). Post hoc comparison revealed that the joint angles in intervention group II were statistically significantly wider than in both the other groups (P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

A simple nurse-led range-of-motion exercise programme can generate positive effects in enhancing physical and psychological function of bedridden older people with stroke. Further studies are needed to investigate the long-term effects of the programme in maximizing function, reducing care utilization and enhancing quality of life for this population.

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