Home-Based Exercise Program for Patients With Combined Advanced Chronic Cardiac and Pulmonary Diseases: Exploratory Study

JMIR Form Res. 2021 Nov 9;5(11):e28634. doi: 10.2196/28634.


BACKGROUND: As chronic cardiac and pulmonary diseases often coexist, there is a need for combined physical home-based rehabilitation programs, specifically addressing older patients with advanced disease stages.

OBJECTIVE: The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the completion and adherence rates of an 8-week, home-based exercise program for patients with advanced cardiopulmonary disease. The secondary end points include patient satisfaction; adverse events; and program efficacy in terms of change in functional capacity, level of dyspnea, and health-related quality of life.

METHODS: The participants received a goal-oriented, home-based exercise program, and they used a wrist-worn activity tracker to record their exercise sessions. Activity tracker data were made visible on a digital platform, which was also equipped with several other features such as short instruction videos on how to perform specific exercises. The participants received weekly coaching by a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist through video communication.

RESULTS: In all, 10 patients with advanced combined cardiopulmonary disease participated (median age 71, IQR 63-75 years), and 50% (5/10) were men. Of the 10 participants, 9 (90%) completed the 8-week program. Median adherence to the exercise prescription was 75% (IQR 37%-88%), but it declined significantly when the program was divided into 2-week periods (first 2 weeks: 86%, IQR 51%-100%, and final 2 weeks: 57%, IQR 8%-75%; P=.03). The participants were highly satisfied with the program (Client Satisfaction Questionnaire: median score 29, IQR 26-32, and Purpose-Designed Questionnaire: median score 103, IQR 92-108); however, of the 9 participants, 4 (44%) experienced technical issues. The Patient-Specific Complaints Instrument scores declined, indicating functional improvement (from median 7.5, IQR 6.1-8.9, to median 5.7, IQR 3.8-6.7; P=.01). Other program efficacy metrics showed a trend toward improvement.

CONCLUSIONS: Home-based cardiopulmonary telerehabilitation for patients with severe combined cardiopulmonary disease is feasible in terms of high completion and satisfaction rates. Nevertheless, a decrease in adherence during the program was observed, and some of the participants reported difficulties with the technology, indicating the importance of the integration of behavior change techniques, using appropriate technology.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Register NL9182; https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/9182.

PMID:34751655 | DOI:10.2196/28634

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