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Physical activity and health promotion for nursing staff in elderly care: a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial
  1. Ann-Kathrin Otto1,
  2. Juliane Pietschmann2,
  3. Luisa-Marie Appelles3,
  4. Michael Bebenek4,
  5. Laura L Bischoff1,
  6. Claudia Hildebrand3,
  7. Bettina Johnen5,
  8. Thomas Jöllenbeck2,
  9. Wolfgang Kemmler4,
  10. Thomas Klotzbier5,
  11. Heide Korbus5,
  12. Julian Rudisch6,
  13. Nadja Schott5,
  14. Daniel Schoene4,
  15. Claudia Voelcker-Rehage6,
  16. Oliver Vogel7,
  17. Lutz Vogt7,
  18. Matthias Weigelt2,
  19. Jan Wilke7,
  20. Katharina Zwingmann8,
  21. Bettina Wollesen9
  1. 1Department of Human Movement Science, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  2. 2Department of Sport and Health, University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany
  3. 3Institute of Sports and Sports Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany
  4. 4Institute of Medical Physics, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
  5. 5Department of Sports and Exercise Science, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
  6. 6Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
  7. 7Institute of Sports Sciences, Goethe University of Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany
  8. 8Institute of Human Movement Science and Health, Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany
  9. 9Biological Psychology and Neuroergonomics, Technical University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Ann-Kathrin Otto; ann-kathrin.otto{at}


Introduction Nursing staff is burdened by high workload and stress. Furthermore, heavy lifting, as well as transferring nursing home residents, cause lumbar tissue damage and back pain. Exercise intervention studies to reduce work-related problems are rare and the evidence for efficacy of studies among nurses is limited. Studies including targeted analysis of requirements are necessary to generate effective recommendations and tailored interventions for health promotion programmes. The purpose of this multicentred intervention study is to identify work-related problems, to implement health promotion programmes and to evaluate their effectiveness.

Methods and analysis A randomised controlled trial will be conducted, including a total of 48 nursing home facilities in eight regions of Germany with an estimated sample size of 700 nurses. Standardised ergonomics and posture training (10 weeks, once a week for 20–30 min) and subsequently, back-fitness training (12 weeks, once a week for 45–60 min) will be administered. Following the implementation of standardised health promotion programmes, further demand-oriented interventions can be implemented. The perceived exposure to work-related demands, work-related pain in different parts of the body, health-related quality of life, perceived stress, work-related patterns of behaviour and experience, presentism behaviour, work environment as well as general needs and barriers to health promotion, will be assessed at baseline (pre-test), at 10 weeks (post-test, after ergonomics training), at 22 weeks (post-test, after back-fitness training) and at 34 weeks of the programme (follow-up).

Ethics and dissemination The study was reviewed and approved by the local ethics committee of the University of Hamburg (AZ: 2018_168). The results of the study will be published in open-access and international journals. Furthermore, the results will be presented in the participating nursing homes and at national and international conferences.

Trial registration number (DRKS00015241).

  • preventive medicine
  • public health
  • education & training (see medical education & training)

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  • Contributors This study was carried out in collaboration between all authors. BW had the project idea and is the head of the multicentre study. Study contents were additionally refined by BW, CH, CV-R, DS, LV, MW, NS and TJ, who are grant holders and principal investigators. All authors were involved in the design of the study protocol. BW and A-KO developed the intervention with revision of all authors. A-KO wrote the first draft of the manuscript. JP wrote the intervention section. NS calculated the sample size and wrote the statistical section. A-KO, JP, L-MA, MB, LLB, CH, BJ, TJ, WK, TK, HK, JR, NS, DS, CV-R, OV, LV, MW, JW, KZ and BW have been involved in the drafting and contributed significantly to the revision of this manuscript and have given approval of the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by the health insurance Techniker Krankenkasse to the scientific concept. The study is part of the project ‘Prevention and occupational health in long-term care’ (PROCARE). Trial data will be analysed independently of the trial sponsors.

  • Disclaimer This funder will not play any role in the design of the study, data analysis, reporting of results, or the decision to present the manuscript for publication. The study protocol has not been reviewed by the funding body.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.