OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility of conducting a randomised controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of a twenty-week power-assisted exercise intervention in people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities and to evaluate the potential beneficial effects of this intervention.
DESIGN: Pilot randomised controlled trial.
SETTING: A large-scale twenty-four-hour residential facility in the Netherlands.
SUBJECTS: Thirty-seven persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities.
INTERVENTION: Participants in the intervention group received a power-assisted exercise intervention three times a week for thirty minutes over a twenty-week period. Participants in the control group received care as usual.
MAIN MEASURES: Trial feasibility by recruitment process and outcomes completion rates; intervention feasibility by programme compliance rates; potential outcomes by functional abilities, alertness, body composition, muscle tone, oxygen saturation, cardiovascular fitness and quality of life.
RESULTS: Thirty-seven participants were recruited ( M age = 32.1, SD = 14.6) and were randomly allocated to intervention ( n = 19) and control ( n = 18) groups. Programme compliance rates ranged from 54.2% to 97.7% with a mean (SD) of 81.5% (13.4). Oxygen saturation significantly increased in the intervention group. Standardised effect sizes on the difference between groups in outcome varied between 0.02 and 0.62.
CONCLUSIONS: The power-assisted exercise intervention and the trial design were feasible and acceptable to people with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities living in a residential facility. This pilot study suggests that the intervention improves oxygen saturation, but further implementation with the aim of improving other outcomes should be considered with caution.
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