Agility Rehabilitation were engaged to provide group exercise classes for residents with Acquired Brain Injury as part of a healthy living program at several residential care facilities. Focus of the program was to improve resident fitness and function to assist with daily living, improve health and mental wellbeing, improve engagement and motivation to exercise, and ultimately improve quality of life.
Initial Assessment: Prior to program commencement, every participant underwent a pre-exercise functional assessment. Due to the nature of brain injury, individuals presented with varied levels of mobility and physical function including those relying on electric wheelchairs, self-propelled wheelchairs, walkers, support sticks or independent mobility. Some with degrees of paralysis, tremor or contractures. Mental health conditions common as well as cognitive dysfunction including anxiety/depression, poor problem solving and concentration, impaired short term memory and low motivation. High levels of comorbidities such as obesity, type II diabetes, dysphagia, chronic pain, asthma, joint pain or non-specific pain.
Exercise Intervention: The group exercise classes were run once weekly for 12-18 weeks onsite at three different homecare facilities. Group size was limited to 6 participants per 60-minute session. Sessions consisted of varied circuit based exercise programming with aspects of muscular strengthening, cardiovascular fitness, coordination, balance and problem solving. High focus on creating a supportive and fun environment to assist with motivation and engagement.
Outcome: General improvements in strength and cardiovascular fitness assisting activities of daily living such as independent transfers and mobility. Noted development of coordination, control and balance resulting in improved mobility confidence and reduced falls risk. Most notably an improvement in enjoyment and appreciation of exercise resulting in improved mood, confidence, motivation and hopefully developing long-term exercise habits in the participants.
Testimonial: Zoe has been a fantastic facilitator, who understands the strengths and limitations of each of our clients and is able to modify and grade exercise intensity to meet their specific requirements. She has established great rapport with our groups and has been highly professional in all her communication and planning. Due to the specific concerns that arise when working with people with ABI – who often have a number of neurological, physiological and medication interactions going on which cause extreme fatigue and problems with balance, planning, sequencing, etc - we have found that the exercise physiologist skill set is well suited to working with this group in the community. - Health & Wellbeing Coordinator, Brightwater Care Group