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Exploring attitudes of people with chronic health conditions towards the use of group-based telerehabilitation: A qualitative study

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posted on 2023-09-08, 14:42 authored by Caoimhe Barry WalshCaoimhe Barry Walsh, Roisin CahalanRoisin Cahalan, Rana S Hinman, KIERAN O'SULLIVANKIERAN O'SULLIVAN

Objective: The study explores the attitudes of people with chronic health conditions towards the use of group-based telerehabilitation.

Design: A qualitative research study.

Setting: The setting involved semi-structured focus groups via videoconferencing software.

Participants: A purposive sample of 18 people with chronic health conditions including cardiorespiratory, neurological and musculoskeletal conditions was recruited via national patient advocacy and support groups in Ireland and clinical contacts. The sample included both those who had, and had not, previously engaged in telerehabilitation programmes.

Procedures: An online questionnaire collected demographic information and data regarding previous telerehabilitation participation and telerehabilitation preferences. Focus groups were conducted using video-conferencing software, in accordance with the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) Checklist, and analysed using thematic analysis following Braun and Clarke’s methodology. Findings were triangulated with quantitative questionnaire data.

Results: Four focus groups were conducted including participants with chronic cardiorespiratory (n=8), neurological (n=6) and musculoskeletal (n=4) conditions. Three themes were identified regarding telerehabilitation: (a) benefits and facilitators (including convenience, increased service accessibility, social connection and technological support), (b) challenges and barriers (including technological access and literacy, limited ‘hands-on’ therapy, safety concerns and social limitations), and (c) preferences (regarding mode of delivery, content, duration and generic programmes for mixed-condition groups).

Conclusions: Telerehabilitation is convenient for people with chronic conditions; however, concerns exist regarding the use of technology and the limitations of this healthcare delivery method. The role of telerehabilitation is valued, and future programmes should acknowledge patient preferences including a hybrid model of care, exercise and educational content, social interaction and synchronous components.



Clinical Rehabilitation, 2023


SAGE Publications

Other Funding information

The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: CBW is funded by an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship (GOIPG/2022/1854) and a Plassey Campus Life Services Scholarship. RSH is supported by a National Health & Medical Research Council Senior Research Fellowship (#1154217)

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