Exercise at home and improvement in the ability to undertake daily tasks are highly valued by older people after hospitalisation. New telerehabilitation (TR) technologies make it possible to supervise and communicate with exercising participants through videoconferencing equipment. This technology has been shown to be both feasible and effective in Danish chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients in terms of basic mobility, safety, social interactions and patient perception. This study sought to examine whether it was feasible to carry out TR through home exercises in groups.
Both medical and hip-fracture home-dwelling patients aged 65 years and older admitted to the Emergency Department (ED) and Department of Geriatrics for acute reasons were asked to participate in the study just before their discharge. The inclusion criteria were normal cognitive function, being dependent on a walking aid and computer users before hospitalisation.
At discharge, 333 patients were consecutively screened for participation. Of those, 300 patients were excluded. Thirty-three patients met the inclusion criteria. They had a mean age of 82.3 years (± 7.8) and 76% were women. Nine patients agreed to participate, but seven withdrew. The most frequent explanation was exhaustion in the continuation of hospitalisation.
It was not possible to conduct a videoconference TR study in a geriatric population, as many were excluded and those who were eligible withdrew after inclusion. During the COVID-19 pandemic, TR may be an important tool for isolated older persons to hinder functional decline. Aspects such as recruitment procedures and IT solutions designed for older people must be considered.