BACKGROUND: Paratonia, a form of hypertonia, is associated with loss of mobility and with the development of contractures especially in the late stages of the dementia. Passive movement therapy (PMT) currently is the main physiotherapeutic intervention. General doubt about the beneficial effects of this widely used therapy necessitates a randomised clinical trial (RCT) to study the efficacy of PMT on the severity of paratonia and on the improvement of daily care.
METHODS/DESIGN: A RCT with a 4-week follow-up period. Patients with dementia (according to the DSM-IV-TR Criteria) and moderate to severe paratonia are included in the study after proxy consent. By means of computerised and concealed block randomisation (block-size of 4) patients are included in one of two groups. The first group receives PMT, the second group receives usual care without PMT. PMT is given according to a protocol by physical therapist three times a week for four weeks in a row. The severity of paratonia (Modified Ashworth scale), the severity of the dementia (Global Deterioration Scale), the clinical improvement (Clinical Global Impressions), the difficulty in daily care (Patient Specific Complaints) and the experienced pain in daily care of the participant (PACSLAC-D) is assessed by assessors blind to treatment allocation at baseline, after 6 and 12 treatments. Success of the intervention is defined as a significant increase of decline on the modified Ashworth scale. The 'proportion of change' in two and four weeks time on this scale will be analysed. Also a multiple logistic regression analysis using declined/not declined criteria as dependent variable with correction for relevant confounders (e.g. stage of dementia, medication, co-morbidity) will be used.
DISCUSSION: This study is the first RCT of this size to gain further insight on the effect of passive movement therapy on the severity of paratonia.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN43069940.
- Logistic Models
- Muscle Hypertonia/classification
- Musculoskeletal Manipulations/methods
- Severity of Illness Index