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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

SA, Ana Claudia Antonio Maranhão; BACHION, Maria Márcia  and  MENEZES, Ruth Losada de. Physical exercises to prevent falls: a clinical trial with institutionalized elderly in the city of Goiânia in Brazil. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.8, pp. 2117-2127. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012000800022.

The scope of this study was to evaluate an intervention program with group physical exercises to prevent falls in the elderly in long-term care institutions. This is a non-randomized clinical trial conducted with 20 institutionalized elderly people in the city of Goiânia in Brazil. The interventions occurred over the period of five months, though the proposed exercise program was based on earlier studies. Standardized measures were used to assess falls, balance and gait, muscle strength, flexibility and fear of falling. After the period of 12 months from the start of intervention there was a significant reduction in the number of falls (p = 0.046). Based on the program, significant differences were observed for point allocation of the maneuvers of balance (p = 0.001), total scores of the maneuvers of balance and gait (p = 0.007), muscle strength of hand grip (p = 0.001) and of lower limbs (p < 0.001), flexibility of movement of shoulder flexion (p = 0.001). The intervention using an exercise program proved to be adequate, albeit insufficient to improve the gait, multiple joint flexibility of the spine and hip and fear of falling, or to reduce the number of elderly people who suffered falls from the beginning of the study.

Keywords : Exercise; Accidental falls; Health of institutionalized elderly people.

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