Participant experiences of a community-based maintenance program post-pulmonary rehabilitation
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The aim of the present study was to describe the perspectives of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who participated in a minimally supervised maintenance exercise intervention and identify the barriers and facilitators associated with participation. The intervention was delivered in a community center and was designed to maintain exercise capacity and quality of life following discharge from pulmonary rehabilitation. This study utilized qualitative focus groups (FGs) involving individuals with COPD (n = 12) who had been attending the maintenance community program for at least 6 months. All individuals who met the inclusion criteria for the FGs consented to participate. Four themes were identified: (1) issues around attendance; (2) perceived benefits of the program; (3) perceived burdens of the program; and (4) recommendations for program improvement. Participants expressed more benefits than barriers, stating that their experience of improved function and quality of life facilitated their attendance. Barriers included exacerbations, fatigue, access to transportation, and weather. Participants endorsed the benefits of a community-based maintenance exercise program after pulmonary rehabilitation. Minimally supervised community-based programs with access to a case manager may provide a useful approach to enhancing adherence to exercise.
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