Volume 47 Number 2, 2010
Pages 151 — 156
Abstract — In a quasi-experimental pre- and postdesign, we examined the effect of rollator use on functional rehabilitation outcome in geriatric patients. From a sample of 458 geriatric inpatients, we matched 30 subjects who were not using assistive devices in their everyday lives but received a wheeled walker at the time of hospital admission (first-time user group) according to their admission scores on three motor performance tests (Timed Up-and-Go, Five-Times-Sit-to-Stand, and Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment-Balance) with 30 patients who were actively using rollators as their primary walking aid for at least 3 months (long-term user group) and 30 control subjects without walking-aid assistance. Measurements were repeated after the inpatient rehabilitation regimen. The Kruskal-Wallis test did not reveal significant group differences in rehabilitation progress. Controls and device users, regardless of walking-aid experience, demonstrated nearly comparable mobility, strength, and balance improvements. More than half of each cohort (controls, n = 22; first-time, n = 17; long-term, n = 18) achieved functional gains in all three motor tests. The study showed that rollator assistance does not interfere with rehabilitation outcome and, to some extent, legitimates the prescription of assistive devices to improve confidence and restore or maintain motor ability at the highest possible level.
Key words: functional test, geriatric rehabilitation, impairment, independence, inpatient, motor performance, outcome evaluation, rollator, walking aid, wheeled walker.