#PTonICE Daily Show – Wednesday, July 12th, 2023 – Gaps in geriatric research

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, Modern Management of the Older Adult lead faculty Christina Prevett discusses the significance of research in the field of physical therapy is along with the importance of translating that research into evidence-informed practice. She acknowledges the substantial nature of their research and highlights the necessity for clinicians on the front line to have access to this valuable information. Staying up to date with available evidence and combining it with clinical expertise and patients’ experiences and desires is emphasized as crucial for clinicians. The episode also addresses several gaps in research that need attention, including the need for rehab research for individuals in sitting positions, outcome measures for wheelchair users, and managing conditions in neurological populations. The host expresses frustration at the lack of clinically relevant outcome measures for wheelchair users and emphasizes the need for research to support the role of rehab in enhancing quality of life and managing various conditions. Overall, the episode underscores the importance of research in informing and improving physical therapy practice.

Take a listen to learn how to better serve this population of patients & athletes.

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00:00 INTRO
What’s up everybody, welcome back to the PT omn ICE Daily Show. Before we jump into today’s episode, let’s chat about Jane, our show sponsor. Jane makes the Daily Show possible and is the practice management software that so many folks here at ICE utilize. The team at Jane knows how important it is for your patients to get the care they need and with this in mind, they’ve made it really easy and convenient for patients to book online. One tip that has worked well for a lot of practices is to make the booking button on your website prominent so patients can’t miss it. Once clicked, they get redirected to a beautifully branded online booking site and from there, the entire booking process only takes around two minutes. After booking an appointment, patients get access to a secure portal where they can conveniently manage their appointments and payment details, add themselves to a waitlist, opt in to text and email reminders and fill out their intake form. If you all are curious to learn more about online booking with Jane, head over to jane.app slash physical therapy, book their one-on-one demo with a member of their team and if you’re sure to use the code ICEPT1MO when you sign up, that gives you a one-month grace period that gets applied to your new account. Thanks everybody.Enjoy today’s show.

Hello everyone and welcome to the PT on ICE Daily Show. My name is Christina Prevett. I am one of the lead faculty in our geriatrics curriculum. So in our geriatrics curriculum, we have three courses in CertMMOA. We have our online eight-week essential foundations course, our online eight-week advanced concepts course and then we have our live course. We are on the road in the summer and into the end of 2023. So our books are closed for 2023. So we have all of the courses that are going to be on the 2023 calendar on the calendar. And so if you are looking to get into one of our courses, know that there isn’t going to be an option for something closer until we’re kind of booking for 2024. So this weekend, Julie is going to be in Watertown, Connecticut. And then the next weekend, 29th, I guess it will be two weekends, 29th, 30th, I’m in Watkinsville, Georgia. There’s still some room in those courses. And so if you guys are interested, just let us know and come hang out with us for all of our geriatric research and all of our geriatric course material. Okay. In today’s content, on Monday, I talked about gaps in pelvic health research. So I’m on our pelvic faculty as well. And so today I’m going to take the exact same approach and talk about gaps we see in the geriatric research. I am obviously in full blown research prep mode. I am defending my PhD on resistance training in older adults, at risk older adults at the end of July. So you’re going to see me full blown in the research space. And so hence the topic of these podcast episodes. When we are comparing different areas of literature, and we’re talking about geriatric rehab in particular, one of the things that I want to start out with is that the state of our research in geriatrics is actually pretty good. You know, we are pretty far ahead when it comes to comparing to other areas. Like when I compare to pelvic health research, there is no comparison. I can off the top of my head bring out 10 studies that have never actually even been done before in our pelvic health research, but I cannot say the same thing in geriatrics. I had to really, pardon me, I had to really think about where I thought our gaps were. And obviously I’m thinking about this around my contribution to the literature with respect to my PhD. So the first thing that I wanted to talk about is the fact that our research is pretty good. You know, we have a lot more in this space and now we’re kind of going into the nuance of our rehab and how to translate the research that we do have so that clinicians who are on the front line have access to that research and can really truly embrace evidence informed practice where they are up to date with the evidence that is available. They’re taking their clinical expertise, they’re taking their patients experience and desires and kind of combining them together. So that’s the first thing. So I’m going to be talking about four, three or four different gaps in the research that we have so far and what this means when we are making recommendations or we are thinking about them with respect to our plan of care for our older adults. So the first thing, and I’m on, this is my bias because this is where my PhD was, was we have very few studies that have looked at high load, low repetition weight schemas for resistance training with older adults. We have one that I can think of maybe two studies and the second study is kind of an ish because it had a descending rep scheme where they use less than five repetitions and higher loads. My PhD tried to change that. I did two pilot studies that looked at the safety and feasibility of a three sets of three to five repetition schema at an intensity of seven to eight out of 10. So that high vigorous intensity, high load, low repetition resistance training. And so it’s important for us to know this, right? We don’t have this research. And when it comes to the way that we work in geriatric literature is that we see what works in our younger or middle aged individuals. Then we push into our healthy older adults and then we push into pathology. Right. This is the story that we saw with high intensity interval training, for example. Right. We saw that it worked in athletic populations. We started pushing the intensity into HIIT training in middle age, healthy older adults. And now the state of the literature, we cannot even deny it because we have evidence for HIIT training in a variety of different pathologies, multimorbidity, obesity, different age groups, et cetera, which is great. We don’t have that yet when it comes to geriatric literature in this high load schema. What we see from a muscle physiology perspective is that the magnitude of strength increase tends to bias heavily towards heavier weights. See the one that I did there versus lower weights, higher repetitions. When it comes to individuals who are doing nothing and they start doing something, of course, we’re going to see improvements in strength at any set reps. But the magnitude of those differences tends to bias when our loads are heavier. Because we don’t have anything in the under five repetition schema, we see this reflected in our exercise guidelines. Right. Why are our exercise guidelines the way they are? Right. Two to three sets, eight to twelve repetitions, 60. Now we’re kind of pushing into that 70 to 79 percent of a person’s one repetition maximum is the standard exercise prescription that we’re seeing out of the American College of Sports Medicine. We saw it in the International Conference for Frality and Sarcopenia Research consensus statement. And this is because that is where the vast majority of the literature goes. And this is where this momentum can build around two to three sets of 10. Right. Because we’ve always done it this way. There’s a good chunk of literature that’s there and we don’t have anything on the flanks. Right. We don’t have anything in under five. We don’t have a ton in the 20 plus. And when we get into the higher repetition ranges, now we have this interference that can happen between cardiovascular fitness and neuromuscular fatigue. And which one is the one that’s breaking down first or is the limiting factor? All of this to say. When we don’t have those discrepancies, we have to be mindful, one, about the strength of our recommendations, but number two, we have to be pushing towards trying to get studies that evaluate this type of loading schema so that we can take a big picture view and then really start to look at dose response data. So that’s number one is that we don’t really have a ton of studies that look at repetitions less than five and kind of my one B is that this influences things like our exercise guidelines and not in a good or bad way, just a we have to use what’s available. And that’s why things are the way that they are. The second one is going to kind of be a blend of pelvic health because we in advanced concepts, we go through in week five urinary incontinence and pelvic health issues and geriatrics. And I’ve talked about this a bunch on the podcast before. But we have very little evidence that’s looking at conservative management of pelvic floor dysfunction for individuals over the age of 65. And we have almost nothing when we look at individuals over 75 or 80. Urinary incontinence is one of the leading causes of institutionalization. So where individuals need a higher level of care, end up in assisted living, end up in institutionalized setting is because of issues with urinary incontinence. That should be justification enough that that we need studies in this area and kind of this one B or two B to C type of step down is we don’t really have a ton on pelvic floor muscle training in older adults. We have some. It’s not a ton. Oftentimes, our older adults are giving are given medications that influence their urine flow rate, whether that’s directly with medications being given to work towards helping with kidney function or things that are given as a consequence of having urinary incontinence that change urinary flow and urinary output. A big example that has nothing to do with either of those things, but is actually a side effect because this is the second classification is individuals are given a medication for one issue and side effects relate to urinary incontinence or other pelvic floor dysfunctions is Lasix or diuretics. Individuals who are on diuretics can have horrible, horrible problems with urinary urgency and urinary incontinence or both. And it has a huge impact on their quality of life. And right now, the only research we have is that it negatively impacts their quality of life. And the next step is to try and figure out what to do about it or what can we do about it conservatively? Can we change medication timing? Can we work on different things? Can we work on urge suppression techniques? Is that going to be relevant because urine outflow is higher because of the water pill? There are so many questions, but we have nothing like we have zero studies that have looked at how to help our clients with urinary urgency or urinary incontinence as a consequence of their medication regimens. This is important because the thing that happens is that people stop taking their meds because they literally cannot go out of their house or cannot be too far from a bathroom without not taking their pill. Because if they’re on their pill, they’re going to the bathroom all of the time for the five to six hours post taking their medication. And so this can essentially make a person homebound. That is important, right? In PT, that’s a super big thing. In OT, it’s a super big thing. In rehab in general, we are trying to discharge homebound status. And this is a big influence of that. Kind of in this urinary incontinence vein for the elderly, for our older adults, you know, we have conservative management in general. We have men management in combination with conservative management when there is a medical side effect because of the medication a person is on. And then the third one is some of the issues that we see post catheterization. So individuals who are placed with an indwelling catheter and then are removed from that get into this situation where they are in bed, they go to the bathroom whenever they need to because the catheter is there. And then once the catheter has been removed, sometimes there can be a disruption of pelvic floor musculature. There can potentially be damage to the urethral structures. And then you also have to try and work on those urge suppression techniques so that now you’re not just going to the bathroom whenever you get the slightest urge to go to the bathroom, but you’re holding it in order to go to the bathroom when it’s convenient for your schedule or when you have the block of time within your day that you can go to the bathroom. We are now also seeing different types of catheters like periwicks, which are external catheters. And what do those do? All of these things that we’re seeing hugely in acute care, we’re seeing it in, you know, individuals going into home health. This kind of goes into neurological populations who may be doing self catheterization. All of these things and the role of rehab in managing these conditions to improve a person’s function and quality of life really has been understudied and a big low hanging fruit that we could potentially be having huge impacts and potentially preventing transitions to institutionalized care is by being able to tackle some of these problems. But we need the research to back us up first. So that’s number two and two A and two B. And then the third one that we’re going to talk about, and I think this one is a frustration point for a lot of our clinicians, is clinically relevant outcome measures for our wheelchair users. So we have a ton of outcome measures in the geriatric space. One of the things that I think is actually really cool is that in our rehab space, our geriatric outcome measures are very strong. We have we have several options. We have good cutoff scores. We have reliability and validity data. We have minimally clinically important differences. All of these things. We have standardized protocols. We have different MCIDs, different reliability and validity data across different settings, which makes sense because our older adult population is extremely heterogeneous. All of that is good. You know, that is great. We touch on that a lot in MMOA about how we want to be leveraging our outcome measures and not just for the sake of doing outcome measures, but in order to guide our clinical reasoning and create risk stratification, which is what they’re intended for. The problem becomes when we have a client who spends a good portion of their day in sitting. When it comes to our outcome measures, we have this Goldilocks type of scenario that we need to be mindful of. We are going to have a cohort of individuals who are going to experience a floor effect and a person who is a wheelchair user on a 30 second sit to stand test is a very good example of that. They are going to get zero and they are probably always going to get zero. And therefore using a 30 second sit to stand test for a person who spends the majority of their day in a wheelchair is not helpful. We also see that we’re going to have some older adults who are going to have this ceiling effect where they are going to knock it out of the park and we’re not getting any information. When I was working predominantly in outpatient, one of the first things that I would ask my older adults who walked in independently into my clinic was can you stand on one leg? I was not going to be wasting 15 minutes of my time doing a Berg on those individuals because it’s a waste of their time. It’s a waste of my time and it doesn’t tell me anything. And so we have to kind of figure out we want this composite, we want these tools in our toolbox that we can pull and leverage based on our clinical impression after a person’s subjective. But when we have individuals who are sitting, we have very, very few outcome measures. We have the function in sitting test, we have stuff like the FIM. We can maybe start using the Berg and look at some of their transfers, but our pool to try and fit this Goldilocks scenario is quite limited. And so we really do need to think about clinically relevant outcome measures for things like transfers or bed mobility or things that are relevant for them. And these things are starting to come out. We have some pilot research on different outcome measures. But what we try and leverage now with an MMOA is trying to get objective data for things like transfers. And what that can look like is instead of giving MinMondax assist, which is important, we’re going to do that based on our clinical judgment, but also put a timer on it. And so if we can put a timer on it, then we can see the first time we did this sitting at the edge of the bed transfer, it took us five minutes from start to finish. And now it’s taking you 30 seconds. Like that’s a huge improvement or it’s taking three minutes. That changes the flow of a person’s day. It helps the caregiver a ton. It makes individuals feel more capable who are trying to help their caregivers with their care. And so we also need the research to back us up with that. And we need help to try and figure out how we can justify our rehab for individuals in sitting. If we can’t use the outcome measures that are so commonly prescribed in different settings to try and see improvements over time. And we can make huge improvements in a person’s function and a person’s capacity who may not have the potential to get into standing and do more standing tasks, but still has an infinite amount of potential to improve their quality of life and the things that they’re doing throughout their day. So those are kind of my big three areas in geriatric practice that I think we need to be focusing on that rep dose response data in resistance training, where we’re looking at load under five repetitions and seeing, does that have any improvements or the magnitude of that improvement in strength with, with a direct influence on a person’s physical function? When it comes to pelvic floor in the older adult space, we have a lot of work to do when it comes to just conservative management in general in our individuals over 75, anything with response to medication management, symptoms, side effect profiles of medications and their influence on the pelvic floor. And then post catheterization work, whether that’s indwelling or external catheterization and what that does to things like urgent continents. And then our third is helping our individuals who are spending most of their day in sitting. How do we help our wheelchair users so that we can justify our care, have normative data and reliability and validity data of outcome measures to be able to speak to our insurance providers who are, you know, a lot of times we’re trying to justify our treatment interventions and then make sure that we know when we’re making clinically relevant changes in their quality of life, when the goal of getting them in standing is not the one that we’re looking at. All right. I hope you found that helpful. If you have any other questions, just let me know. I’m going to be in the research space a lot in the next couple of weeks. I might be sick of it by the time I get to the end of the month with my defense. But let me know what your thoughts are. If you have any other questions, if you are not signed up for MMOA digest, that is our every two week newsletter where we bring all of that research to your inbox. So if we see any studies that are coming out that are filling in some of the gaps that we were talking about, you’re going to know about it first. If you’re signed up for MMOA digest, just head to ptnice.com slash resources. If you’re looking for research in general, make sure you are following hump day hustling. All right. Have a great day everyone. And we’ll talk soon.

20:07 OUTRO
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