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Saal, Susanne; Klingshirn, Hanna; Beutner, Katrin; Strobl, Ralf; Grill, Eva; Müller, Martin and Meyer, Gabriele (2019): Improved participation of older people with joint contractures living in nursing homes: feasibility of study procedures in a cluster-randomised pilot trial. In: Trials 20 [PDF, 1MB]

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BACKGROUND Acquired joint contractures have a significant impact on functioning and quality of life in nursing home residents. There is very limited evidence on measures for prevention and treatment of disability due to joint contractures. We have developed the PECAN intervention (Participation Enabling CAre in Nursing) to improve social participation in nursing home residents. A cluster-randomised pilot trial was conducted to assess the feasibility of study procedures in preparation for a main trial according to the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) framework. METHODS Nursing homes in two regions of Germany were randomly allocated either to the intervention or optimised standard care (control group). All residents with joint contractures aged > 65 years were eligible for the study. The residents' data were collected through structured face-to-face interviews by blinded assessors at baseline, after 3 and 6 months. The primary outcome was social participation, measured by a subscale of the PaArticular Scales. Secondary outcomes included activities and instrumental activities of daily living, health-related quality of life, falls and fall-related consequences. Data on the trial feasibility were collected via documentation forms. RESULTS Seven out of 12 nursing homes agreed to participate and remained in the trial. Of 265 residents who fulfilled the inclusion criteria, 129 were randomised either to the intervention (n = 64) or control group (n = 65) and analysed. A total of 109 (85%) completed the trial after 6 months. The mean age was 85.7 years (SD 7.0), 80% were women. The severity of the residents' disability differed across the clusters. The completion rate was high (> 95%), apart from the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale. Some items of the PaArticular Scales were not easily understood by residents. The frequency of falls did not differ between study groups. CONCLUSION Our data confirmed the feasibility of the overall study design. We also revealed the need to improve the procedures for the recruitment of residents and for data collection before implementation into a main trial. The next step will be an adequately powered main trial to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. TRIAL REGISTRATION German clinical trials register, ID: DRKS00010037 . Registered on 12 February 2016.

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