This randomized controlled trial examined whether using occupational and physical therapists in the home setting prevented functional decline in elderly patients and improved their autonomy, reduced caregiver burden, and reduced the use of health and social services. Traditionally, older adults who require hospitalization are at risk of a long-term deterioration of health status, which can continue after discharge, as clients may become dependent on home care services. In this project, eligible patients (aged 60 and over) who were discharged from acute care hospitals and referred to the Community Access Centre of Halton for homemaking and/or nursing were randomized to receive either the usual home care services or early, individualized health promotion/rehabilitation intervention by occupational and physical therapists in addition to home care. A total of 201 patients was enrolled. The evaluation of the findings of this project is continuing, but preliminary analyses show that the rehabilitation services have improved functional abilities in clients’ activities of daily living compared with those of the control group.
This project was supported by the Health Transition Fund, which was created in 1997 to provide support for evidence-based decision-making in health care reform by supporting pilot and evaluation projects which test innovative approaches to health care delivery. The views expressed herein do no necessarily represent the official policy of federal, provincial, or territorial governments.