Content » Vol 43, Issue 5

Original report

Rollator use adversely impacts on assessment of gait and mobility during geriatric rehabilitation

Michael Schwenk, Marita Schmidt, Matthias Pfisterer, Peter Oster, Klaus Hauer
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0791

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the influence of the use of a rollator walking aid on assessment of gait and mobility.
Design: Prospective, longitudinal study.
Subjects: Geriatric patients during inpatient rehabilitation (n = 109; mean age 83.1 years).
Methods: Assessment at the beginning and prior to discharge from rehabilitation using: gait-analysis (GAITRite®, speed, cadence, stride-time, stride-length, base-of-support, double-support), Performance-Oriented-Mobility-Assessment (POMA), and Timed-Up-and-Go (TUG). Differences between outcomes obtained without and with rollator use were calculated for baseline assessment and for changes over time for the total group and subgroups according to diagnosis (hip fracture vs. other). Responsiveness was calculated using standardized response means.
Results: Baseline performances were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher when assessed with vs. without rollator in the total group and in hip fracture (except cadence) and other (except cadence, stride-time, TUG) patients. Changes over time were significantly greater when assessed without vs. with rollator in the total group and hip fracture (except cadence, POMA) and other patients (except base-of-support, double-support). Tests without rollator showed superior responsiveness (except TUG).
Conclusion: The use of rollator walking aids limits the detection of initial gait and mobility deficits, adversely affects the assessment of changes over time in gait and mobility performance, and reduces the responsiveness of tests. When full weight-bearing is permitted, assessment without a walking aid is recommended.

Lay Abstract

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