Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Meridee Danks


Geriatric patients, functional activity, functional change, Physical therapy


Background and Purpose. Maintaining functional activity is the most important aspect for geriatric patients wishing to preserve their independence. Muscle strength decreases rapidly within the sixth and seventh decade. This is when some older individuals have difficulty with activities such as walking, balance and transfers. Additional issues such as disease, injury or inactivity can increase the speed of this decline. Although functional change is usually observed with aging, hospitalization can cause further complications to function even if the patient’s admitted condition has been resolved. The purpose of this case report is to look at the role of physical therapy in return to home function when discharged from hospitalization.

Case Description. The patient 92-year-old female admitted to the hospital for 4 weeks. Inpatient physical therapy services were ordered to evaluate and treat weakness secondary to sepsis. Patient presents with decreased strength, decreased balance and difficulty with transfers and ambulation.

Intervention. The intervention applied to this patient included daily functional strengthening of lower extremities along with transfer and ambulation activities.

Outcomes. Following physical therapy interventions, the patient had increased strength and balance that improved independence with transfers and ambulation. The patient was able to live independently at home with use of an assistive device.

Discussion. The patient responded positively to the intervention and the goal of returning home was met. More research is recommended on interventions and outcome assessments for allowing an elderly patient to safely discharge home.