Danish Wounded Warriors Project

EVIDENCE & RESEARCH

The Danish Wounded Warriors Project

Evidence and research

DWWP intervention protocol highlights 2015 – Title: “Veterans and civilians with physical or psychological challenges, train in the Pilates method: A prospective controlled study.”

Selection of participants.

Participants for the project (inclusion) had to be veterans from service abroad, or civilians between 18 and 56. Participants could have physical injuries, bodily problems or limb loss and / or be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Persons were excluded if unable to cooperate in testing, if verbal communication was impossible, if unable to present themselves in the studio, if not possible to train for bodily or medical reasons, if dependent on continuous care, in case of severe alcohol or drug abuse or if unable to be transported to the studio.

Methods for evaluation of the programme.

When designing the test programme we decided to focus on parameters directly significant for the participants, all in line with the tendency of measuring PROMs (Patient Related Outcome Measurements)

We then chose to measure “State of health” by a validated Finnish method, (15D) and to assess the participants “Quality Of Life” (QOL) by a questionnaire with participants self-scoring and further physical tests focusing on state of and changes in body control, body language and balance detectable by the individual participants.

All participants were tested at baseline (before start of the study) and additionally at 2, 6 and 12 months.

Results.

We recruited 18 participants (3 F; 15 M) with a mean age of 32.9 years (Range 26 to 44 years). 15 of the participants were veteran soldiers while 3 were civilians.

All participants had experienced hazardous events or serious accidents such as improvised explosive devises (road-side bombs), gun shots, blunt force trauma (violent assaults) or severe traffic accidents – resulting in traumatic amputations, complex penetrating traumas, traumatic brain injuries, blast injuries, fractures and/or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) etc. The mean time that had elapsed since the injury was 4.2 years.

15 participants (83%) completed the study (12 veteran soldiers and 3 civilians).

Quality of life.

  • At 2 months we recorded a statistical significant 14.7% improvement in QOL score (n = 18, p = 0.07).
  • At 6 months the QOL score had improved to 30.6% compared to baseline (n = 17, p = 0.02).
  • At 12 months QOL score was further improved, equal to a statistical significant increase of 44.95% compared to baseline (n = 15, p = 0.01).

The major findings of the present study were that the participants experienced significant improvement in quality of life and in daily activities after intensive Pilates training.

Improvement in quality of life was detectable already at 2 months and further improvement was reported after continuous training. In addition daily activities also improved after 12 months of training.

Importantly this also reflected positively on the participant’s professional lives where a majority reported a tendency towards normalization of professional activities and returning to part-time or full-time work or studies.