Aquatic physical therapy as a treatment modality in healthcare for non-institutionalized elderly persons: a systematic review
To review scientific literature pertaining to aquatic physical therapy in the elderly and institutionalized population.
A qualitative systematic review of electronic databases MEDLINE and LILACS, with the topic index terms: “hydrotherapy,” “homes for the aged or residential facilities,” and “aged. In light of the lack of studies carried out on the institutionalized population, we opted for reviewing literature on the effectiveness of this modality of physical therapy treatment on the non-institutionalized elderly population in order to produce knowledge that can be critically analyzed according to its potential applicability for the institutionalized population. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed using the Delphi listing.
Of the 27 studies analyzed by their abstracts, 10 studies were excluded since they did not correspond to the eligibility criteria. We analyzed the subject characteristics of each study, as well as the quality of the methods (good methodological quality in 47% of the studies), the result measurements considered, the intervention strategies, the sites where they took place, and the professionals involved (76% by physical therapists).
Although a large part of the studies demonstrated good results with aquatic physical therapy practice, none of them had been applied on long-stay institution for the elderly. Therefore, more studies are needed in this area for a model of assistance to long-stay institution for the elderly to be proposed.