The Geras virtual frailty rehabilitation program to build resilience in older adults with frailty during COVID-19: a randomized feasibility trial.

Publication date: Jul 17, 2023

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has exacerbated the risk for poor physical and mental health outcomes among vulnerable older adults. Multicomponent interventions could potentially prevent or reduce the risk of becoming frail; however, there is limited evidence about utilizing alternative modes of delivery where access to in-person care may be challenging. This randomized feasibility trial aimed to understand how a multicomponent rehabilitation program can be delivered remotely to vulnerable older adults with frailty during the pandemic. Participants were randomized to either a multimodal or socialization arm. Over a 12-week intervention period, the multimodal group received virtual care at home, which included twice-weekly exercise in small group physiotherapy-led live-streamed sessions, nutrition counselling and protein supplementation, medication consultation via a videoconference app, and once-weekly phone calls from student volunteers, while the socialization group received only once-weekly phone calls from the volunteers. The RE-AIM (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance) framework was used to evaluate the feasibility of the program. The main clinical outcomes were change in the 5-times sit-to-stand test (5 cD7 STS) and Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21) scores. The feasibility outcomes were analyzed using descriptive statistics and expressed as frequencies and mean percent with corresponding confidence intervals (CI). Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used for the effectiveness component. The program enrolled 33% (n = 72) of referrals to the study (n = 220), of whom 70 were randomized. Adoption rates from different referral sources were community self-referrals (60%), community organizations (33%), and healthcare providers (25%). At the provider level, implementation rates varied from 75 to 100% for different aspects of program delivery. Participant’s adherence levels included virtual exercise sessions 81% (95% CI: 75-88%), home-based exercise 50% (95% CI: 38-62%), protein supplements consumption 68% (95% CI: 55-80%), and medication optimization 38% (95% CI: 21-59%). Most participants (85%) were satisfied with the program. There were no significant changes in clinical outcomes between the two arms. The GERAS virtual frailty rehabilitation study for community-dwelling older adults living with frailty was feasible in terms of reach of participants, adoption across referral settings, adherence to implementation, and participant’s intention to maintain the program. This program could be feasibly delivered to improve access to socially isolated older adults where barriers to in-person participation exist. However, trials with larger samples and longer follow-up are required to demonstrate effectiveness and sustained behavior change. ClinicalTrials. gov NCT04500366. Registered August 5, 2020, https://clinicaltrials. gov/ct2/show/NCT04500366.

Concepts Keywords
August COVID-19
Clinicaltrials Feasibility studies
Coronavirus Frailty
Nct04500366 Older adults
Virtual rehabilitation


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19
disease IDO intervention
disease VO effectiveness

Original Article

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