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Development of an intervention to promote Older Peoples’ Rehabilitative Exercise Engagement

What we are doing:

The doctoral study included a literature search, interviews and synthesis process in the development of an intervention for the promotion of Older People’s Rehabilitative Exercise Engagement (OPREE). A pre and post cohort feasibility study then examined the viability of OPREE within an NHS community setting. Patients referred to the Strength and Balance Exercise (SBE) classes were invited to participate. A case control group formed the comparison. SBE sessions attended formed the primary outcome. Secondary outcome measures were behaviour change, activities of daily living, functional mobility and quality of life. Interviews measured OPREE’s fidelity and acceptability.

Why we are doing it:

Strong evidence demonstrates that, among individuals of all ages, physical function and perceived quality of life is improved by regular physical activity. However, inactive lifestyles are a public health concern because they underpin much of the developed world’s disease burden. A local service audit demonstrated a mostly sedentary sample of older people with the majority of respondents repeatedly spending more than two hours sitting or lying down during the day. A problem was also identified where patients would withdraw from falls preventative SBE classes but were not followed up. A subsequent serviceevaluation identified a mean attendance of 54% of 20 available sessions. Nonetheless, several indicated that they enjoyed the classes and wished that they could continue: “not only [for] the exercises but also the company”.

What the benefits will be:

The systematic narrative review, the interviews and the focus group all determined OPREE’s components. The following feasibility study reported OPREE to be acceptable and perceptually useful. Eight of the ten patients who accepted the offer of OPREE completed it (80% attendance). Control group SBE mean attendance was nine sessions (45% attendance). Arguably, the naturalistic face-to-face delivery was preferred because it allowed for more open and honest discussions about how participants’ could have their needs supported. There is no reason that OPREE could not be provided within the wider health and social setting. Future studies should recruit from other healthcare packages that require long-term patient perseverance. Future conceptions of OPREE also require redirection to improving self-management of long-term conditions. 

Who we are working with:

  • Nottingham CityCare Partnership CIC
  • University of Nottingham


Dr Kevin Anthony, Clinical Academic Physiotherapist and Falls Lead,

Nottingham CityCare Partnership