The objective of this paper is to present the design and participants of an ongoing randomized controlled trial on a network-based geriatric rehabilitation programme, targeted at frail elderly persons with progressively declining health and a high risk of institutionalization. Forty-one municipalities, seven rehabilitation centres and a total of 741 frail elderly (65+years) community-living persons participated in the study. Assessments included measurements of physical capacity (balance, handgrip strength, walking speed), Functional Independence Measure, Geriatric Depression Scale, 15 Dimension quality of life questionnaire and Mini Mental State Examination. Questionnaires covered physical, social and psychological factors. The participants were old (mean age 78 years, range 65-96) and mainly female (86%). They were physically frail and most of them (66%) had experienced deterioration of health within 1 year. The majority lived alone (72%) and received regular help from other people (99%). The mean Mini Mental State Examination and Geriatric Depression Scale scores were 25.2 and 4.1 points, respectively. Depressive mood (Geriatric Depression Scale>6 points) was found in 17% and declined cognitive function (Mini Mental State Examination
The AGE study is a national randomised, long-term, multicentre research project aimed at comparing a new network-based rehabilitation programme with the use of standard health and social services. The use of home help services is associated with increasing age, living alone and having difficulties with activities of daily living. During a rehabilitation intervention the elderly participants' need for care can be assessed. The focus of this paper is to investigate the possible effects of the network-based rehabilitation programme on the use of informal and formal support among home-dwelling elderly at a high risk of long-term institutionalisation. The randomised controlled trial with a 12-month follow-up was implemented in 7 rehabilitation centres and 41 municipalities in Finland. The participants were recruited between January and October 2002. A total of 708 home-dwelling persons aged 65 years or older with progressively decreasing functional capacity and at the risk of being institutionalised within 2 years participated. Persons with acute or progressive diseases or poor cognitive capacity (Mini Mental State Examination
This article aims to describe how physiotherapists working with frail older people talk about their clients. Semi-structured qualitative interviews with physiotherapists (n = 11) were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using discourse analysis. Two accounts were identified: (i) older adults as recipients of a treatment intervention at the rehabilitation centre, with the dimensions 'a focus on physical impairments' and 'a focus on social needs' and (ii) older adults as partners in an exercise intervention to support their everyday living at home. Older adults' everyday living context was not considered in the approach where, in an isolated and objectified manner, the physiotherapists focused on physical impairments. Placing great emphasis on the clients' social needs in turn implied passive treatments. In both instances the physiotherapists' activities were focused on the present, that is, the time of the clients' stay at the rehabilitation facility, rather than on their everyday challenges at home. These aspects were taken into accounts to a greater extent when older adults were positioned as partners and functional limitations were contemplated in relation to domestic daily living.