We recently completed the ParkFit study, a two-year randomized controlled trial including 586 sedentary Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, that evaluated a multifaceted intervention (ParkFit program) to promote physical activity. The results showed that the ParkFit program enables PD patients to become physically more active, suggesting that this intervention should now be further implemented into clinical practice. To facilitate this process, we here evaluate the implementation of the ParkFit program.
The ParkFit program was evaluated in three ways: (a) experiences of patients and physiotherapists, as investigated using interviews and questionnaires; (b) factors associated with changed activity levels; and (c) subgroup analyses to identify differential effects in subgroups of patients based on baseline physical activity level, age, gender, disease severity, disease duration, and mobility.
The ParkFit program was well received: 73% of patients indicated they would recommend the program to other patients, and 90% of physiotherapists indicated they wanted to use the ParkFit program in other patients. Multiple forward regression analysis resulted in a model with two variables: less baseline physical activity, and better mobility were associated with larger changes in levels of physical activity (R2=38%). The program was effective in almost all subgroups. In women, most sedentary patients and patients with higher disease severity, the estimated effect size was largest.
We conclude that the ParkFit program was effective in almost all specific subgroups. Therapists and patients experienced no major hurdles. Suggestions for improvement are: (1) improve education for therapists with respect to theories about behavioral change; (2) formulate concrete and specific examples of exercise goals; and (3) pay more specific attention to patients with co morbidities, cognitive dysfunction and a lack of motivation during education
Evaluation of implementation of the ParkFit program: A multifaceted intervention aimed to promote physical activity in patients with Parkinson's disease; Physiotherapy - June 2014 (Vol. 100, Issue 2, Pages 134-141, DOI: 10.1016/j.physio.2013.05.003)