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Exp Gerontol ; 162: 111747, 2022 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1739732


BACKGROUND: The use of telehealth has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the lack of reliable and valid tools to measure balance and gait remotely makes assessing these outcomes difficult. Thus, we investigated whether balance and gait measures used in clinical practice are reliable and valid when assessed remotely through telehealth. METHOD: In this pilot study, we investigated 15 healthy older adults who performed validated tests: Timed Up and Go simple, dual cognitive and motor tasks; Berg Balance Scale; Functional Gait Assessment and Dynamic Gait Index. The tests were assessed on two dates: (i) face-to-face, (ii) and remotely, via videoconference between 7 and 14 days after the initial assessment. Participants also undertook the Physiological Profile Assessment (PPA) to assess their risk of falling. Reliability was measured using intraclass correlation (ICC) two-way mixed with absolute agreement to contrast the score of the assessments undertaken face-to-face and remotely in real-time and recorded. We also assessed inter-rater reliability. Criterion validity was measured using Pearson correlation between the tests that were undertaken remotely and PPA. RESULTS: All tests showed good reliability between face-to-face and real-time telehealth (ICC = 0.79-0.87) and face-to-face and recorded telehealth (ICC = 0.78-0.88) assessments and good to excellent inter-rater reliability (ICC = 0.80-1.00). Correlation between the tests and PPA were significantly (p < 0.05) moderate for real-time (r = -0.68-0.64) and recorded (r = -0.69-0.71) telehealth assessments. CONCLUSIONS: The good reliability between face-to-face and remote measurements together with moderate validity of these measures to assess fall risk suggest that health professionals could use these measures to evaluate the balance and gait of healthy older adults remotely.

COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , Gait/physiology , Humans , Pandemics , Pilot Projects , Postural Balance/physiology , Reproducibility of Results
Australas J Ageing ; 41(3): e240-e248, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1672928


OBJECTIVES: To explore the impacts of the 2020 New Zealand COVID-19 lockdown on peer-led Steady as You Go (SAYGO) fall prevention exercise classes and members, and to develop recommendations for mitigating impacts during future lockdowns. METHODS: Semi-structured phone interviews were conducted with 20 SAYGO program participants and managers following the first COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using the General Inductive Approach. RESULTS: Participants were between 67 and 88 years of age, predominantly female (90%) and NZ European (80%), with one participant identifying as NZ Maori. Three themes were constructed from the analysis: Personal Function and Well-Being, Class Functioning and Logistics, and Future Strategies for Classes During Prospective Lockdowns. Participants used a range of strategies to stay connected with each other and continue the SAYGO exercises at home. Most participants and peer-leaders reported that they maintained physical function during lockdown, although some had feelings of psychological distress and social isolation. Contact systems and resource distribution varied substantially between groups. Classes resumed post-lockdown with only minor modifications and slightly decreased attendance. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, members of this peer-led model of fall prevention classes demonstrated resilience during the COVID-19 lockdown, despite some challenges. We propose three recommendations to address the challenges of maintaining existing peer-led exercise classes in the context of prospective lockdowns: (1) develop a comprehensive contact detail register and plans for each group; (2) delivery of modified exercise classes remotely over lockdown; and (3) implementation of a nationwide IT education and resource program for older adults.

COVID-19 , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Humans , Male , New Zealand/epidemiology , Prospective Studies
Front Neurol ; 11: 604299, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-961646


Governments around the globe have introduced quarantine, lockdown, and mandatory isolation to slow the transmission of COVID-19. These public health and policy measures aim to protect the public and vulnerable people. This perspective paper argues that the impacts of lockdown (such as social disconnection, reduced exercise, and fewer physiotherapy treatments) may be amplified for people with neurological conditions with subsequent increases in frailty. The paper outlines why this may occur, and explores how adverse impacts for these vulnerable populations may be minimized through strategies such as telehealth, exercise programs, and health policies.