A group of scientists from the universities of Halle-Wittenberg, Munich and Witten/Herdecke as well as the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences worked on several research projects aimed to improve the quality of life and social participation of people with joint contractures.
Movement limitations due to decreased joint mobility (joint contractures) are a common problem of the elderly. Such joint contractures arise, for example, due to inactivity, injuries, rheumatism or pain-compensating posture. Irrespective of the causes, joint contractures have a negative effect on the quality of life, body functions and the independence of the affected persons.
In the past few years, the phenomenon of "joint contracture" has gained increased attention; for example, the medical service of health insurance (MDK) has defined a risk assessment tool for contractures as well as interventions to prevent contractures as quality indicators in long-term care, although at this time there was no adequate evidence for interventions to prevent contractures nor was there a patient-centered assessment tool. This led to an increase in the assessment and documentation effort as well as to an increased use of interventions to prevent contractures, the effectiveness of which is not evidence-based.
Due to this background more attention should be paid to the situation of elderly people with joint contractures as well as to the associated restrictions on activities and participation.
In our first project on the "Impact of joint contractures on functioning and social participation in older individuals – development of a standard set" (JointConFunctionSet) the PaArticular Scale was developed in a multi-step, internationally recognized procedure. The PaArticular Scale serves to quantify restrictions in activities and participation due to joint contractures.
Our second project was dedicated to "Developing a complex intervention to improve participation and quality of life in nursing home residents with joint contractures" (JointConImprove). On the basis of the findings of the first project an intervention was developed: the concept of contracture-sensitive care. This multi-component package aims to improve the functioning, social participation and quality of life of nursing home residents with joint contractures.
If you are interested in further information on our research projects such as background, methods or results, we recommend you our publications or their summaries in English.
For personal inquiries please contact Katrin.Beutner@medizin.uni-halle.de.