Question: To determine the uptake of an app-based supplemental exercise programme in a rehabilitation setting and the effect of such a programme on length of stay and function compared to usual care physiotherapy.
Design: Randomized controlled trial with random allocation and assessor blinding.
Participants: A total of 144 individuals with mixed diagnoses (orthopaedic, neurological, reconditioning) admitted for inpatient sub-acute rehabilitation.
Interventions: Participants were randomly allocated to usual care physiotherapy (control group) or usual care physiotherapy with the addition of an app-based supplemental exercise programme (intervention group).
Outcome measures: The primary measure of interest was total supplementary exercise dosage completed by the intervention group. The primary between-group outcome measure was length of stay with secondary measures including walking endurance (Six-Minute Walk Test), walking speed (10-Metre Walk Test), functional mobility (Timed Up and Go Test) and level of disability (Functional Independence Measure).
Results: Participants in the intervention group performed 7 minutes (SD: 9) or 49 repetitions (SD: 48) of supplementary exercise using the app each day. There were no differences between the groups for length of stay (mean difference (MD): -0.5 days, 95% confidence interval (CI): -3.2 to 2.2) or change in any secondary functional outcome measures, including walking speed (MD: -0.1 m/s, 95% CI: -0.2 to 0.0) and disability (MD: -0.9, 95% CI: -3.6 to 1.8).
Conclusion: A small supplementary exercise dose was achieved by participants in the intervention group. However, such a programme did not affect length of stay or functional outcomes when compared to usual care.
- exercise therapy
- physical therapy