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The aim of this trial was to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a home-based exercise program delivered four months following hip-fracture surgery. In the two-armed randomized, single blinded clinical trial we included persons who lived in the catchment area, were 70 years or older, and community-dwelling at time of the fracture. We excluded persons who were unable to walk ten meters prior to the fracture, and those who were bedridden or had medical contraindications for exercise at baseline (ie. four months after the fracture). All participants underwent routine treatment and rehabilitation. The intervention group received additional 20 sessions (10 weeks) structured, home exercise targeting gait and balance, delivered by physiotherapists in primary health care. Gait speed was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes included physical activity, gait characteristics, cognitive function, activities of daily living, health-related quality of life, and health care costs extracted from hospital and municipality records. In total, 223 participants were included. Four months post surgery 143 were randomized for the exercise trial (70% women, mean age 83.4 (SD 6.1) years, mean gait speed 0.6 (SD 0.2) m/sec). Estimated between group difference in gait speed was 0.09 m/sec (95% CI: 0.04 to 0.14, p<0.001) at posttest and 0.07 m/sec (95% CI: 0.02 to 0.12, p = 0.009) 12 months post surgery. The mean between-group QALY difference was -0.009 (95% CI: -0.061 to 0.038). The mean between-group total cost difference was +242.9 EUR (95% CI: -8397 to 8584). Our findings suggest that gait recovery after hip fracture can be improved by introducing a home-based balance and gait exercise program four months post surgery, without increasing total health care costs. Future research should focus on how to implement gait and balance exercise in comprehensive interventions that increase adherence among the most vulnerable persons and have an effect on daily life activities and patient-centred outcomes. Trial registration: NCT01379456.

Original publication




Journal article


Plos one

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