Exercise rehabilitation improves fitness and functional status for patients with cardiorespiratory conditions; however, poor adherence to continuing exercise may erode long-term benefits. An understanding of patient barriers to group maintenance programs may assist uptake and continuation.
Observational study of prospectively recruited cardiac, heart failure, and pulmonary rehabilitation patients referred to newlyestablished, community-based maintenance exercise programs in Brisbane, Australia. Factors associated with initial attendance (attended at least once) and continuing attendance (attended at least 6 of the first 12 weeks) were identified using pre-attendance survey data, integrated with attendance data collected at the receiving programs.
Of 241 referred participants, 140 provided survey data for this analysis. Of these, 98 (70%) attended the community program at least once, and 59 (60% of initial attenders) continued for at least 6 of the first 12 weeks. Significant predictors of initial attendance were referring site, familiarity with the community model, perceived cost, and social barriers. Continuing attendance was significantly higher in retired participants and those with established exercise habits, and lower in those with perceived transport and safety barriers.
This study proposes several barriers that could be addressed by rehabilitation staff and by receiving exercise programs in order to facilitate adherence to regular post-rehabilitation exercise.
1Internal Medicine and Aged Care, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
2University of Queensland School of Medicine
3Heart Failure Service, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital
4Griffith University School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Address correspondence to: Dr Alison Mudge, Internal Medicine & Aged Care, Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, Herston Queensland 4029, Australia (firstname.lastname@example.org).