Augmented Prescribed Exercise Programme (APEP) in Acute Hospitals


Currently half of acute beds are occupied by adults >65years and it is estimated that this proportion will increase to over 70% by 2050. These patients are at risk of functional decline, partly due to the acute illness, but also due to the immobilising effect of treatments (e.g. intravenous drips, oxygen tubing etc). The hospital environment and culture also tends to inhibit mobilisation.The imposed inactivity may lead to muscle weakness and functional decline, increasing community care needs and /or residential care.

Phase 1 is a cross-sectional observation study measuring physical activity levels of medical inpatients aged >65years in an acute hospital (150 patients).

Phase 2 is a randomised controlled trial measuring the effects of the augmented prescribed exercise programme (APEP) on patients function, quality of life and healthcare utilisation (250 patients).


Health Research Board (HRB) Summer Student Fellowship (2011)

HRB – Research Training Fellowship for Health Professionals (2013) – under review


Dr Suzanne Timmons :

Ms. Ruth McCullagh





Current Status:

We have previously conducted a pilot trial and shown that for a very low cost (€800 for 40 patients), there was a strong trend towards shorter length of stay and better function at discharge (1). We have also established the patients’ perceptions of the study and attitudes towards exercise in general, as well as barriers and facilitators of exercise (2).

Future Plans  To expand the APEP to the community setting for frail older people.


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