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REHOLD: Effect of multicomponent rehabilitation on independence and functioning in elderly patients with common age-associated diseases

Project Lead: PD Dr. A. Salzwedel

Executive Staff: Omar Baritello, Theo Taxis, Heinz Völler, Annett Salzwedel

Research aims and project summary

The aim of the REHOLD project is to map the available evidence of multicomponent rehabilitation on functional health parameters (need for care, physical function, activities of daily living, health related quality of life) which are related to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health concept (ICF) based on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) biopsychosocial health model. Data of older patients, who received multicomponent rehabilitation in one of the four medical specialties cardiology, oncology, neurology and orthopaedics, is compared to data of patients receiving usual care.  


REHOLD is a scoping review, based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA‑ScR) guidelines and on the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis) recommendations.

Eligibility criteria in terms of population, intervention, control, outcomes and study design (PICOs) were defined a priori. Randomized controlled trials, prospective and retrospective controlled cohort trials investigating patients within the age of 75 years or older, not in need of geriatric care, which were hospitalised for age-associated diseases (e.g., osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases) are included. The intervention of interest is multicomponent rehabilitation, defined according to the WHO’s principles and as exercise therapy combined with at least one additional component (e.g., nutritional counselling), beginning no later than three months after hospital discharge. Usual care (e.g., visits to specialists, pharmacotherapy) not including exercise training, was predefined as the comparator. Primary outcome is the need of care. Furthermore, physical function, health related quality of life, activities of daily living, mortality and hospitalization were investigated as secondary outcomes.

Relevance of the research aims

The efficacy of multicomponent rehabilitation in regaining functioning is still uncertain, particularly in patients ≥ 75 years old, not in need of geriatric care, following hospitalisation for an age-associated event or disease. REHOLD is addressing this task and committed to close this research gap.


Zentrale Forschungsförderung - Universität Potsdam




The study was registered in Open Science Frameworks (OSF) and the study protocol was published in the international journal British Medical Journal - Open (BMJ Open). The publication of the study results is currently under review, also at BMJ Open (05/2024).

Study registry (OSF):

Study protocol (BMJ Open):