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Frail older adults’ perceptions of an in-hospital structured exercise intervention

Abstract

Background

Exercise interventions need to be assessed qualitatively to establish how people participate in and perceive the intervention and how interventions should be delivered for maximal effect.

Objectives

To explore how frail older inpatients perceived the effects of a pilot augmented prescribed exercise programme (APEP).

Design

An interpretive phenomenological design using open-ended semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis.

Setting

An acute teaching hospital.

Participants

Thirteen of the frail older adults who participated in the APEP.

Results

The participants’ perceived relationship with the interventionist was highly influential, affecting participation rates, perceived value of the APEP, and outcome expectations. Pre-existing positive outcome expectations increased the likelihood of fully engaging in the programme and valuing the outcomes. Barriers to the intervention included negative or no outcome expectations and fatalism. Recent exercise history affected their views of the APEP. Perceived positive outcomes included increased intention to exercise postdischarge, improved self-efficacy and perceived improvements in physical status.

Conclusion

Exercise interventions targeting frail older adults in the acute setting may benefit from taking a multifaceted approach to implementation. Education tailored to the participants, and setting restorative goals, may improve outcome expectations and future intention to exercise. The relationship between the participants and those implementing an intervention appears critical to their participation and whether they value the programme.

Cite this article

Frail older adults’ perceptions of an in-hospital structured exercise intervention.

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