- Exercising is good advice for anyone, especially for older hospitalized patients, a team of Israeli researcher reported in a JAMA Internal Medicine study.
- In the study of 177 older patients hospitalized in internal medicine units at an academic medical center in Israel, those who walked 900 steps or more each day experienced less functional decline.
- More than half (55.4%) of the 41.8% patients who walked less than 900 steps reported hospitalization-associated functional decline, compared with just 18.4% of the 58.2% of patients who were more mobile.
Patients’ steps were calculated via an accelerometer attached at the ankle, and they were evaluated on cognitive, functional, and mobility performance.
The findings are tempered by the fact that the study relied on a generally high-functioning sample of older adults from one facility, the authors note. Limitations aside, it points to the potential benefits of using wearable devices to monitor patients’ activity and vital signs.
Wearables have been popular with fitness buffs, but they haven’t become a fixture with consumers or in healthcare settings. Reasons include cost, as well as concerns over privacy and securing health information.
Recent studies have also raised questions about their usefulness in changing personal behaviors. A JAMA study found patients with wearables lost, on average, less weight than those who used a website to track progress. And a study in the journal Obesity showed wearables didn't help participants from "The Biggest Loser" maintain weight loss from the reality TV show. Both studies point to the link between behavioral change and weight loss.
However, in a recent survey by Jiff, nearly one in three employers reported offering wellness programs that incorporated wearables. Another 23% said thy might offer a wearables program in the future.