Impact of joint contractures on functioning and social participation in older individuals--development of a standard set (JointConFunctionSet)

  • Background Free movement of the limbs is a prerequisite of mobility and autonomy in old age. Joint contractures, i.e. restrictions in full range of motion of any joint due to deformity, disuse or pain, are common problems of frail older people, particularly in nursing home residents. Contractures are among the most unexplored and underreported syndromes in clinical and homecare settings. Epidemiological studies indicate a wide range of prevalence of joint contractures in older individuals between 20% and 80%. This variation is due to different definitions of contracture and varying diagnostic criteria or data collection methods, different research settings, sample size and study participants? characteristics. The aetiology of joint contractures is multifaceted. In older people contractures may be caused by a variety of health conditions and situations, but immobility due to an acute injury or disease seems to be the major risk factor. Upper limb joint contractures may result in loss of ability to dress or eat independently while lower limb contractures may lead to instability and inability to walk independently and higher risk of bed confinement. Joint contractures further increase the risk of other adverse patient outcomes like pain, pressure ulcers and risk of falls. Thus, joint contractures are a major cause for excess disability in older people with a significant impact on overall quality of life and functioning. Preventive and rehabilitation interventions targeting joint contractures may decrease morbidity, increase functioning and quality of life, and, ultimately, prevent long-term disability. In the United States of America, presence of joint contractures is an established indicator of quality of care in nursing facilities. In Germany, joint contracture risk assessment and prevention have recently been defined as a quality indicator of nursing home care that should be regularly monitored by experts from the statutory health insurance system. Nursing homes are obliged to report whether they regularly assess the risk of joint contracture and administer relevant preventive measures. In clinical settings, joint contractures are assessed by measuring the range of motion. However, from a patient- and nursing-oriented perspective the relevance of a systematic registration of contractures in care-dependent older people is unclear unless their impact on functioning is understood. Contracture assessment is only an intermediate step in the evaluation of patient-relevant outcomes such as quality of life, functioning, and the ability to participate in everyday life and social participation. Arguably, a clinical definition of joint contracture is difficult because the contracture?s severity is determined by the consequences on activities of daily living, quality of life and social participation. In addition, there is no consensus on aspects most relevant to the affected individuals. A variety of functional measures is currently used for the assessment and evaluation of geriatric patients. To date, there is no consensus on common concepts for the choice of outcome measures specifically for evaluating the impact of interventions targeted on joint

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Author:Martin Müller, U. Fischer, G. Bartoszek, E. Grill, G. Meyer
Parent Title (English):BMC Geriatrics
Editor: Springer Nature
Document Type:Article (peer reviewed)
Publication Year:2013
Tag:80 and over; Aged; Contractures; disabled persons; geriatric rehabilitation; outcome assessment
Peer reviewed:Ja
faculties / departments:Fakultät für Angewandte Gesundheits- und Sozialwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 30 Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie