Implementation of a Strength Training Intervention for Treating Sarcopenia Among Older Residents in a Skilled Nursing Facility

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Florida Southern College
Problem: Sarcopenia is a well-known geriatric syndrome characterized by the progressive and generalized loss of muscle quantity or quality. Physical activity is the most prevalent recommendation for treating and preventing sarcopenia. At the Advent Health Care Center, residents are neither screened for sarcopenia nor engaged in exercise programs outside of prescribed physical therapy when appropriate for rehabilitation due to injury. Background/Significance: The incidence of sarcopenia increases with age and is associated with adverse outcomes such as increased risk of falls, cognitive impairment, loss of independence, diminished quality of life, increased health costs, need for care in a skilled nursing facility, and increased mortality. Intervention: The intervention for this DNP project was a 90-day strength training program designed to improve measures of muscle mass, muscle strength, physical performance, and quality of life. The program was implemented in two phases. During Phase 1 (1 week), baseline data were collected and participants (N = 22) were oriented to the upcoming exercise regimen. During Phase 2 (12 weeks), the participants exercised and I collected 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day data for comparative purposes. Outcomes: Data showed the strength training program was an effective intervention for reducing the characteristics associated with sarcopenia. Significant gains were made on muscle mass from baseline to 60 days and on grip strength, balance, gait speed, chair stand, and quality of life over the intervention period. Reduction in the incidence of sarcopenia among long-term care residents in skilled nursing facilities may, subsequently, contribute to reduced adverse effects of the disease process such as falls, hospital readmissions, morbidity, and mortality and help residents achieve an overall higher quality of life.
Nursing 7510: DNP Project and Practicum IV
Sarcopenia diagnosis, Muscle strength, Aging