The covid-19 pandemic heavily impacted the delivery of phase three cardiac rehabilitation (CR) in the UK. Most face-to-face exercise programmes were forced to close, and centres shifted to home-based and remote delivery models. As a result, the use of technology for CR has increased.

The aim of this study was to explore patient and clinician experiences of remote exercise-based CR during the covid-19 pandemic.

Nine patients and six clinicians from a single General Hospital in South West England were recruited for semi-structured telephone or video interviews. Interviews included open ended questions about the acceptability of home-based exercise guidance for CR and clinician support, and any difficulties
faced. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Patients wanted more guidance and feedback around physical activity post cardiac event and felt anxious about
exercising without having reassurance and supervision from a
clinician. Some patients felt that the remote exercise programme was not suited to their needs and would value a more individualised approach, as well as the opportunity to interact with other patients. For these reasons, many patients stated that they would attend face-to-face exercise sessions if
available. Clinicians favoured face-to-face sessions for observing patients and building rapport and reinforced that remote CR does not currently facilitate patient interaction. Clinicians also highlighted the need for objective methods of measuring patient compliance to remote CR but stated that remote delivery had increased access and uptake.

The shift to remote programmes as a result of the covid-19 pandemic has evoked mixed feelings among patients and clinicians. More guidance, support and options for physical activity and exercise-based CR are needed to ensure that remote approaches are acceptable to patients and clinicians. Technology-enabled interventions could be explored to bridge the gap between centre-based and remote CR and to support their adoption
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2022


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