Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Exercise Science Option)

Department or School/College

Integrated Physiology and Athletic Training

Committee Chair

Dr. John Quindry

Commitee Members

Dr. Annie Sondag, Dr. Rich Willy


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Exercise Science


The global population of long-term care facility (LTCF) residents > 65 years of age has high rates of sedentary behavior, and is expected to increase in number in the coming years. LTCF residents benefit from physical therapy, which can increase patients’ activity levels while treating symptoms of the inevitable aging process. A novel method is needed to increase LTCF resident adherence to physical therapy programs (PTPs). Health literacy (HL), which is the ability to interpret and understand health related information, presents as one such method to increase patient adherence. The geriatric population has the lowest HL rates out of all adult age groups, but LTCF physical therapists are in a prime position to successfully educate their patients. Within this paper are recommendations to increase the health literacy and consequent PTP adherence of elderly LTCF patients. Recommendations were organized within the Social-Ecological Model to account for the unique influence of the LTCF environment. Four Intrapersonal, one Interpersonal, two Organization and three Community recommendations were produced to increase patients’ health literacy. The substantiating evidence for the Intrapersonal and Interpersonal recommendations were strong overall, while the Organization and Community recommendations had a wider range of evidence strength ratings. Health literacy offers a promising intervention to increase the program adherence of elderly physical therapy patients in LTCFs, though all levels of recommendations require further validation before being implemented in a clinical setting.



© Copyright 2020 Kathryn Grace Stoehr Tiemessen