Physical rehabilitation


The aging process is associated with physiological changes including decreased muscle mass, increased fat mass and altered muscle-nerve function resulting in decreased functional capacity.

Acute illness in combination with inactivity and bed rest during hospitalization accelerates the age-related loss of functional capacity. Thus, older hospitalised patients risk losing functional independency as a consequence of their hospitalization. Because physical activity and exercise generally increase functional capacity, physical activity and exercise interventions may help reduce the loss of functional capacity and independency in these patients.

Main focus

We focus on physical activity and exercise interventions to reduce inactivity-induced loss of functional capacity and to optimize transitions of care for older hospitalised patients. In all phases of our research, our approach is to include key stakeholders (eg. patients, clinicians, policy makers) to conduct relevant research and to facilitate successful implementation in clinical practice.   

On-going studies

The STAND-Cph trial. Supervised progressive cross-continuum strength training compared with usual care in older medical patients. After baseline assessments, patients are randomized to either supervised progressive strength training during hospitalization and after discharge (home-based) or usual care. Follow-up assessments shortly after discharge and 4 weeks after discharge (primary end point) in the patients' own homes. The intervention consists of strength training of the lower extremities daily during hospitalization and three times per week for 4 weeks after discharge. 80 patients will be enrolled. Project leaders: Mette Merete Pedersen and Lillian Mørch Jørgensen.

The WALK-Cph trial (Stå og gå i Region H): Cross-continuum physical activity in older medical patients: a pragmatic, mixed-methods and implementation study to increase 24-hour mobility in older medical patients during acute hospitalization and following discharge. WALK-Cph is a tailored intervention which has been developed and co-designed in collaboration with key stakeholders (patients, relatives, health professionals and researchers) to enable successful implementation (Phase 1). In the upcoming phases of the study, we will fidelity-test the intervention (Phase 2), impact-test the intervention in an RCT-study (Phase 3) and measure adoption of the intervention (Phase 4). Project leaders: Jeanette Wassar Kirk and Mette Merete Pedersen.

PREHAB-TKA. The QUADX-1 Trial: An exercise dose-response trial in patients eligible for total knee arthroplasty due to end-stage knee osteoarthritis. Three knee-extensor exercise dosages are investigated. Following baseline assessment, patients are randomized either 2, 4 or 6 exercise sessions a week for 12 weeks. Follow-up assessment is after 12 weeks of exercise (primary end-point), shortly following surgery (total knee arthroplasty) and three months following surgery. The primary outcome is change in knee-extensor strength. 140 patients will be enrolled. The trial includes a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the relationship between pre-operative knee-extensor exercise dose and change in knee-extensor strength prior to and following total knee arthroplasty. In a qualitative study we will investigate perspectives on barriers and facilitators among orthopedic surgeons, physiotherapists and patient on home-based knee exercise. Project leader: Rasmus Skov Husted.