Factors Affecting Attendance at an Adapted Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Program for Individuals with Mobility Deficits Poststroke
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OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the factors affecting attendance at an adapted cardiac rehabilitation program for individuals poststroke. METHODS: A convenience sample of ambulatory patients with hemiparetic gait rated 20 potential barriers to attendance on a 5-point Likert scale upon completion of a 6-month program of 24 prescheduled weekly sessions. Sociodemographic characteristics, depressive symptoms, cardiovascular fitness, and comorbidities were collected by questionnaire or medical chart. RESULTS: Sixty-one patients attended 77.3 ± 12% of the classes. The longer the elapsed time from stroke, the lower the attendance rate (r = -.34, P = .02). The 4 greatest barriers influencing attendance were severe weather, transportation problems, health problems, and traveling distance. Health problems included hospital readmissions (n = 6), influenza/colds (n = 6), diabetes and cardiac complications (n = 4), and musculoskeletal issues (n = 2). Of the top 4 barriers, people with lower compared to higher income had greater transportation issues (P = .004). Greater motor deficits of the stroke-affected leg were associated with greater barriers related to health issues (r = .7, P = .001). The only sociodemographic factor associated with a higher total mean barrier score was non-English as the primary language spoken at home (P = .002); this factor was specifically related to the barriers of cost (P = .007), family responsibilities (P = .018), and lack of social support (P = .001). No other associations were observed. CONCLUSION: Barriers to attendance were predominantly related to logistic/transportation and health issues. People who were more disadvantaged socioeconomically (language, finances), and physically (stroke-related deficits) were more affected by these barriers. Strategies to reduce these barriers, including timely referral to exercise programs, need to be investigated.
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