Identifying Feasible Physical Activity Programs for Long-Term Care Homes in the Ontario Context

Saad Shakeel, Ian Newhouse, Ali Malik, George Heckman



Structured exercise programs for frail institutionalized seniors have shown improvement in physical, functional, and psychological health of this population. However, the ‘feasibility’ of implementation of such programs in real settings is seldom discussed. The purpose of this systematic review was to gauge feasibility of exercise and falls prevention programs from the perspective of long-term care homes in Ontario, given the recent changes in funding for publically funded physiotherapy services.


Six electronic databases were searched by two independent researchers for randomized controlled trials that targeted longterm care residents and included exercise as an independent component of the intervention.


A total of 39 studies were included in this review. A majority of these interventions were led by physiotherapist(s), carried out three times per week for 30–45 minutes per session. However, a few group-based interventions that were led by long-term care staff, volunteers, or trained non-exercise specialists were identified that also required minimal equipment.


This systematic review has identified ‘feasible’ physical activity and falls prevention programs that required minimal investment in staff and equipment, and demonstrated positive outcomes. Implementation of such programs represents cost-effective means of providing long-term care residents with meaningful gains in physical, psychological, and social health.


exercise; long-term care homes; physical activity; falls prevention; feasibility

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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)