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Effects of a Balance Exercise Assist Robot on Older Patients with Hip Fracture: A Preliminary Study

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to determine whether exercises using a balance exercise assist robot (BEAR) improved balance function in older patients with a hip fracture whose ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) had almost plateaued.

Methods

Participants were 27 older patients (3 men, 24 women; mean age 81.0 ± 6.3 years) with a hip fracture whose ability to perform ADL had almost plateaued and who were about to be discharged. All participants performed exercises using the BEAR for 20 min a day, 6 days a week, for 2 weeks before leaving the hospital. We assessed the following at pre- and post-exercise: the Timed Up and Go test (TUG), the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), the functional reach test (FRT), the standing test for imbalance and disequilibrium, functional independence measure scores (total and walking ability), preferred gait speed, and muscle strength of the lower extremities.

Results

Significant differences were observed between pre- and post-exercise for all measures, including TUG (pre: 21.9 ± 17.7 s, post: 17.4 ± 13.6 s, P < 0.001), BBS (47.0 ± 8.1 points, 50.6 ± 6.3 points, P < 0.001), and FRT (22.4 ± 6.2 cm, 24.8 ± 6.7 cm, P = 0.005).

Conclusion

In older patients with hip fracture whose ability to perform ADL has almost plateaued, adding the BEAR exercises to rehabilitation programs could improve balance function better than traditional programs alone. Balance exercises using a robot may be an effective measure to prevent falls at home after a hip fracture.

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Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Research Funding for Longevity Sciences (Grant number 28-14) from the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (NCGG), Japan. The funding agencies did not have any role in the design of the study, execution of the intervention, analyses, interpretation of the data, or the decision to submit results.

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Authors

Contributions

ET: study concept, interpretation of data, statistical analyses, and drafting the article. KO: study concept and design, and recruitment of participants. KS and KK: interpretation of data, critical revision of the article for important intellectual content. MM: critical revision of the article for important intellectual content. IK: study concept and design, statistical advice, and critical revision of the article for important intellectual content.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eiko Takano.

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The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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Takano, E., Ozaki, K., Satoh, K. et al. Effects of a Balance Exercise Assist Robot on Older Patients with Hip Fracture: A Preliminary Study. J. Med. Biol. Eng. 40, 783–789 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40846-020-00568-x

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Keywords

  • Balance
  • Exercise
  • Hip fracture
  • Older patients
  • Robot