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Optimizing the mobility of residents with dementia: A pilot study promoting healthcare aide uptake of a simple mobility innovation in diverse nursing home settings.

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  • Background Almost 90 percent of nursing home residents have some type of mobility limitation. Many spend most of their waking hours lying in bed or sitting. Such inactivity can negatively affect residents’ health and general well-being. This pilot study aimed to assess (1) the effect of the sit-to-stand activity on mobility outcomes of nursing home residents, (2) the effect of an audit-and-feedback intervention on uptake of the sit-to-stand activity by healthcare aides, and (3) the contextual factors influencing uptake of the sit-to-stand activity by healthcare aides. Methods This quasi-experimental pilot study was conducted in two nursing homes in western Canada. Twenty-six residents with dementia completed the sit-to-stand activity with 56 healthcare aides during daily care; separately, 71 healthcare aides completed a research use and context survey. Preliminary mobility feedback was presented to healthcare aides in one site. Resident mobility was measured using the 30-second sit-to-stand test. Healthcare aide uptake of the activity was measured using documentation flowsheets and a survey-based measure. Context was measured using the Alberta Context Tool. Mobility and uptake outcomes were analyzed over time and by site with analysis of covariance. Spearman and Pearson correlations were used to correlate context data with research use. Results Residents who more frequently completed the sit-to-stand activity were more likely to maintain or improve mobility compared with those who completed it less frequently (F=4.46; p=0.046, after adjustment for age). Uptake for one site was significantly different from the other (t-score=2.67; p=0.01, after adjustment for resident covariates). The audit-and-feedback intervention was associated with increased uptake of the activity from pre-intervention to post-intervention (t-score=-2.48; p=0.02). More context domains correlated significantly with aides’ use of conceptual research and information sources in one site than the other. Conclusions The sit-to-stand activity is a promising means to maintain or improve transfer ability of nursing home residents with dementia. In the nursing home with initially weak uptake, strengthened uptake followed an audit-and-feedback intervention. Activity participation was higher in the site with stronger correlations between context and measured research use. Results are sufficiently promising to warrant proceeding with a full clinical trial.

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    This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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    • Slaughter, S. E., & Estabrooks, C. A. (2013). Optimizing the mobility of residents with dementia: A pilot study promoting healthcare aide uptake of a simple mobility innovation in diverse nursing home settings. BMC Geriatrics 13(1), 110 doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-110.