Enabling Adults With Severe Asthma to Exercise: A Qualitative Examination of the Challenges for Patients and Health Care Professionals
Adults living with severe asthma have lower physical activity levels, particularly high-intensity physical activity, compared with their healthy peers. Physical inactivity is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
To understand patient and health care professional attitudes toward exercise and physical activity to inform future strategies for the improvement of healthy lifestyle behaviors, including exercise.
Participants recruited from a specialist difficult asthma service were interviewed individually, and health care professionals (HCPs) from primary care, secondary care, and a tertiary center were invited to attend focus groups. Interviews and focus groups were transcribed verbatim. We performed thematic analysis on interviews and focus groups separately, followed by an adapted framework analysis to analyze datasets together.
Twenty-nine people with severe asthma participated in a semi-structured interview. A total of 51 HCPs took part in eight focus groups across the East Midlands, United Kingdom. Final analysis resulted in three major themes: barriers to exercise and exercise counseling - in which patients and HCPs identified disease and non-disease factors affecting those living with severe asthma; attitudes toward HCP support for exercise - highlighting education needs for HCPs and preference for supervised exercise programs; and areas for system improvement in supporting patients and HCPs - challenges exist across health sectors that limit patient support are described.
Patients identified the important role of HCPs in supporting and advising on lifestyle change. Despite a preference for supervised exercise programs, both patient and HCP barriers existed. To meet patients’ varied support needs, improved integration of services is required and HCP skills need extending.
Author affiliationDepartment of Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester
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