BACKGROUND: low mobility of hospitalised older adults is associated with adverse outcomes and imposes a significant burden on healthcare and welfare systems. Various interventions have been developed to reduce this problem; at present, however, their methodologies and outcomes vary and information is lacking about their long-term sustainability. This study aimed to evaluate the 2-year sustainability of the WALK-FOR (walking for better outcomes and recovery) intervention implemented by teams in acute care medical units. METHODS: a quasi-experimental three-group comparative design (N = 366): pre-implementation, i.e. control group (n = 150), immediate post-implementation (n = 144) and 2-year post-implementation (n = 72). RESULTS: mean participant age was 77.6 years (± 6 standard deviation [SD]) and 45.3% were females. We conducted an analysis of variance test to evaluate the differences in primary outcomes: number of daily steps and self-reported mobility. Levels of mobility improved significantly from the pre-implementation (control) group to the immediate and 2-year post-implementation groups. Daily step count: pre-implementation (median: 1,081, mean: 1,530 SD = 1,506), immediate post-implementation (median: 2,225, mean: 2,724. SD = 1,827) and 2-year post-implementation (median: 1,439, mean: 2,582, SD = 2,390) F = 15.778 P < 0.01. Self-reported mobility: pre-implementation (mean:10.9, SD = 3.5), immediate post-implementation (mean: 12.4, SD = 2.2), 2-year post-implementation (mean: 12.7, SD = 2.2), F = 16.250, P < 0.01. CONCLUSIONS: the WALK-FOR intervention demonstrates 2-year sustainability. The theory-driven adaptation and reliance on local personnel produce an effective infrastructure for long-lasting intervention. Future studies should evaluate sustainability from a wider perspective to inform further in-hospital intervention development and implementation.
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- functional decline
- older people
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology