Supporting patient physical activity through interventions in primary health care practice: a pilot study
LE3 .A278 2019
Bachelor of Kinesiology
Physical activity is well-known to have dose-dependent health benefits in both preventative and therapeutic contexts of health promotion and care. Allied health networks that incorporate exercise professionals into primary care have been shown to be especially effective at improving physical activity levels in various populations. Nova Scotia is particularly inactive as compared to other regions of Canada, with few Nova Scotians meeting the daily physical activity guidelines. Access to physical activity supports such as tailored physical activity counselling and prescription, and physical activity programs (e.g. community exercise programs or use of monitoring devices) improve physical activity levels and adherence but can be particularly challenging to access in Nova Scotia, where exercise participation is typically an out-of-pocket (i.e. outside of primary care) expense. The referral system for patients to access such resources can play a substantial role in whether people utilize such resources. To make these supports more readily accessible, and to develop practical strategies, it is imperative that referral schemes be evaluated and explored in rural communities. By better understanding what people need in terms of support for increasing physical activity, better intervention can be provided in primary care. Hence, this pilot study examined the effectiveness of physical activity referral programs to influence patient physical activity levels and adherence through a network of primary care and allied health care professionals in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. This pilot study paired objective and subjective measures of physical activity and exercise pre-and post-exercise/physical activity intervention, and evaluated the effect each intervention type had on patient physical activity and confidence to exercise. Results showed a decrease in both physical activity and self-efficacy levels across both groups from pre to post. There were several challenges with bringing exercise referral schemes into clinical practice, even in a newly adopted collaborative care model, that may have influenced the level of participant uptake and the results. Mainly, there was a lack of physician uptake, lack of access to the exercise professional, and lack of patient interest in the PiezoRxD® pedometer/accelerometer.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.