Strength Begins at Home: Home-based exercise may reduce post-surgical complications in seniors

A senior patient uses  a walker in a hospital room.

$1.1M from latest round of CIHR Project Grants will support this multi-hospital, cross-country trial set to start recruiting this fall.

Following a home-based exercise plan prior to surgery could reduce the risk of post-surgical complications in frail seniors, says a Faculty of Medicine prof and his team of researchers.

The team recently garnered $1.1 million in funding from CIHR’s latest Project Grants competition in support of their PREPARE* trial, a multi-hospital, cross-country trial being planned by the team after seeing evidence for their theory in their own pilot study.

Frail patients, who have multiple medical issues, feel “slowed up”, or experience memory changes, don’t have the same reserves as younger or healthier people heading into surgery. They are therefore at increased risk of post-surgical complications like infections, heart or lung problems, loss of independence, or death.

The research team, led by Dr. Daniel McIsaac, assistant professor at the Faculty of Medicine and associate scientist at The Ottawa Hospital, believes that building a frail patient’s strength and reserves via a home exercise plan prior to surgery will support them in a recovery with fewer complications.

The group is currently finalizing their processes and protocols; the 3.5-year study will begin recruiting participants in September 2019.


* PReoperative Exercise to decrease PostoperAtive complication Rates and disability scorEs

Photo of Dr. Daniel McIsaac

Dr. Daniel McIsaac’s cross-country trial of a home-based exercise program for pre-surgical seniors with frailty will begin recruiting participants in the fall of 2019. Photo credit: Ottawa Hospital Research Institute


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