Classification of physical independence in older occupants with chronic lung disease at home - a pilot study

M.C.L. Snijders, L.G.H. Koren, H.S.M. Kort

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Objective: Chronic lung problems often constrain physical independence of older occupants. The usefulness and practicality of an existing physical independence level assessment has been studied. Methods: Nine independently living older occupants (aged 52-73) with chronic lung disease participated in a pilot study. Physical performance in daily activities was determined from heart-rate and body-movement registrations during a seven-day period at home and a standardised cycle ergometer test in hospital. The individual’s baseline for physical independence was deduced from physical performance outdoors. Results: The highest actual energy expenditure at a relative physical strain of 40% allowed us to assign subjects to physical independence levels 3 (4 subjects) or 4 (5 subjects). At level 3 activity accommodations, technical aids, and informal assistance are required; at level 4 professional assistance is needed too. Subjects at level 4 had lower values of body weight, body height, peak oxygen uptake, and peak minute ventilation than subjects at level 3. The severity of airflow limitations did not predict physical independence level. Physical performance during outdoor walking showed a higher relative physical strain (above 40%) at physical independence level 4 as compared to 3. This high strain limits duration of performance as a way of activity accommodation. Conclusion: Physical independence level assessment is suited to distinguish baselines for physical independence levels 3 and 4 under daily living conditions in older occupants with chronic lung disease. In the future, the assessment method may give insight into the influence of efficacious interventions on physical performance parameters.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)163-174
    Number of pages12
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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