Dual Task Exercise: Outcome on Gait and Balance of Elders
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Gait and balance disorders are common in older adults and are a major cause of falls in this population. Dual task exercise is most important for elderly with balance and gait patterns problem. It improves the strength and tone of the muscles and controls the knee and helps to stabilize and protect knee joint. Dual task exercise helps to improve cognitive function, standing and walking. The aim of the study is to assess effect of dual task exercises on balance and gait pattern of elderly in selected old age homes at Kanyakumari district.
A quantitative approach with pre-experimental one group pre-test-post-test design was used to assess the effect of dual task exercises on balance and gait pattern of elderly. Thirty elderly who fulfilled inclusion criteria were selected by non probability purposive sampling technique. Pre-test was done using Berg Balance Scale and Functional Gait Assessment Scale. Then Dual task exercises were administered individually twice in a week for 4 weeks. Post-test was done using same scale on 5th week.
At pre-test, 86.7% of subjects had high fall risk and 13.3% had medium fall risk. At post-test, cent percent of subjects had low fall risk. During pretest, 40% of them had moderate impairment and 60% of them had mild impairment. In post-test, 80% had mild impairment and 20% had normal ambulation. The Berg Balance Score (BBS) at pre-test was 17.9±2.5 and at post-test was 52.4±2.3. The improvement was 34.5± 3.6 and it was statistically highly significant (P<0.001). The Functional Gait Assessment Score (FGAS) at pre-test was 12.0±3.3 and the post-test mean was 28.4±2.2. The improvements from pre-test to post-test was 16.4±4.3 and it was highly significant (P<0.001). Hence research hypothesis (H1) was accepted.
The dual task training program was effective in improving balance and gait pattern of elderly. It is the responsibility of the nursing personnel to train elders in performing dual task exercise which helps to improve their balance and gait. This in turn reduces the risk of falling.
Elders, Gait and balance, dual task exercise, training.