ZonMw grant for research on person-focused physiotherapy treatment

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Research on person-focused physiotherapy treatment rewarded by ZonMw after initial rejection. Ria Nijhuis - van der Sanden and Thomas Hoogeboom (IQ healthcare) received a grant of 400,000 euros for research on the effectiveness of a new approach to physiotherapy. 

The research focuses on an coaching intervention by a physiotherapist for older people with mobility problems to increase their levels of physical activity and social participation. In a randomized clinical trial, the effectiveness of this approach Coach2Move has been demonstrated. Six months after stopping the therapy, people who were in the Coach2Move group had greater levels of physical activity, better health outcomes and improved quality of life at lower costs compared with people in the conventional physiotherapy group.

In this follow-up study, it is examined whether implementation of the Coach2Move approach in day-to-day practice will result in similar benefits on health and costs. A randomized stepped wedged study will be employed in which 12 physical therapy practices enroll at least 400 elderly people who visited the physiotherapist. This study is relevant because mobility problems will become the leading cause for healthcare consumption in the aging population. It is therefore important to support older people to stay physically active, so they can keep on living independently in their own home and participating in society. 

Initially it seemed that the project would strand on the basis of formal criteria setup by the grant providers, who made the case that only interventions included in the basic insurance packages would be eligible for funding; which physiotherapy is not. However, legal advice from the Valorization Department of the Radboud university medical center showed that the project was actually eligible for funding. They made the case that interventions that are likely to be included in the basic package are also eligible for funding, which the Coach2Move approach will be in case we demonstrate cost-effectiveness in daily practice.

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