Recommendations for an exercise intervention and core outcome set for older patients after hospital discharge: Results of an international Delphi study

Jesse J. Aarden*, Mel E. Major, Claartje M. W. Aghina, Martin van der Esch, Bianca M. Buurman, Raoul H. H. Engelbert, Marike van der Schaaf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


For older adults, acute hospitalization is a high-risk event with poor health outcomes, including functional decline. In absence of practical guidelines and high quality randomized controlled trials, this Delphi study was conducted. The aim of this study was to obtain consensus on an exercise intervention program, a core outcome set (COS) and handover information to prevent functional decline or restore physical function in acutely hospitalized older patients transitioning from hospital to home. An internal panel of experts in the field of exercise interventions for acutely hospitalized older adults were invited to join the study. In the Delphi study, relevant topics were recognized, statements were formulated and ranked on a 9-point Likert scale in two additional rounds. To reaching consensus, a score of 7-9 was classified as essential. Results were expressed as median and semi-interquartile range (SIQR), and consensus threshold was set at SIQR≤0.5. Fifteen international experts from eight countries participated in the panel. The response rate was 93%, 93% and 80% for the three rounds respectively. After three rounds, consensus was reached on 167 of the 185 (90.3%) statements, of which ninety-five (51.4%) were ranked as essential (median Likertscore ≥7.0, SIQR ≤0.5). This Delphi study provides starting points for developing an exercise intervention, a COS and handover information. The results of this Delphi study can assist physical therapists to provide a tailored exercise intervention for older patients with complex care needs after hospital discharge, to prevent functional decline and/or restore physical function.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0283545
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3 March
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

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