Adults with long-term neurological conditions have low levels of participation in physical activities and report many barriers to exercise. This study used a mixed methods approach to evaluate participant experiences and outcomes following participation in student-led, community-based neurological groups and to explore the feasibility of performing a full-scale study.
MSc Physiotherapy (pre-registration) students developed and implemented a six-week, circuit-based exercise program at the university for individuals with a variety of neurological conditions. Participants were recruited as a convenience sample from a similar exercise group on campus. Students evaluated participants before and after the intervention using the health related quality of life questionnaire (HRQoL). Students performed semi-structured interviews and multi-staged thematic analysis to evaluate participant experiences within the class.
Ten participants completed the intervention and underwent an interview. HRQoL scores were varied and demonstrated an increase in some areas and and a decrease in others. Participants related good rehabilitation to student physiotherapist qualities, and physical and psychological benefits of therapy.
They indicated that they received extensive benefits from the student-led class and expressed their views within five main themes: knowledge, interaction, improvement and recovery, patient-centeredness and structure.
Student-led circuit-based classes can be a safe and effective method to deliver rehabilitation to a heterogeneous neurological group. Service users would appear to benefit from such intervention in a variety of aspects. A full-scale research study is recommended to further investigate the impact on patients.
This feasibility study evidenced the model of delivery can be beneficial for service users. Further work to evaluate the types of patients who benefit most as well as stage of students most suited to the model of delivery is required.
This work was not funded.
This work was presented at Physiotherapy UK 2018.