Home exercise program aiming to reduce frailty in cardiovascular patients

February 23, 2024 9:19 am in by

The University of Wollongong has been awarded $450,000 to pilot a nurse-coordinated resistance exercise program, in order to improve frailty in cardiovascular patients.

Around half of individuals who experience heart failure are susceptible to developing frailty, a distressing geriatric syndrome characterised by an ‘accelerated ageing’ phenomenon of a decline in physical and cognitive reserves, heightening a patient’s vulnerability to accidents, falls and longer stays in hospital.

Dr Julee McDonagh will lead a project based at Blacktown Hospital that aims to address these adverse patient outcomes.

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Resistance based exercise aims to build muscle tone and strength by working against a weight or force and can include body weight exercises, resistance bands and handheld weights.

The research project will use a pilot randomised controlled trial design to test if a three-month exercise program can reduce hospital admissions for adults with heart failure, as well as improve their frailty, physical function, and quality of life.

The exercise program will be co-designed with patients and health experts to be completed in the patient’s home. After the three-month program, group discussions will be held to obtain feedback on how people think the program will work in the long-term, with a view to extending the program to more patients.