Physiotherapists’ perspectives on aerobic exercise early after stroke: A preliminary study
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Aerobic exercise is recognized as part of comprehensive stroke rehabilitation in best-practice and clinical guidelines, yet many individuals remain physically inactive during their hospitalization. The purpose of this study was to identify the perspectives of physiotherapists on aerobic exercise prescription and implementation at in-patient stroke rehabilitation centers with and without a structured aerobic exercise program. A survey was conducted at three Canadian rehabilitation centers to evaluate physiotherapist perceptions of individuals recovering from stroke, the practice environment, and their training on aerobic exercise in stroke. Physiotherapists at centers without a structured aerobic exercise program (n = 10) reported the lack of necessary resources and therapeutic support staff and the individuals' physical impairment as the greatest barriers. In contrast, physiotherapists at the center with a structured aerobic exercise program (n = 6) reported therapy selection (insufficient time in a single physiotherapy session) and concern for the individuals' cardiovascular risk and cognitive impairment as the greatest barriers. Both groups of physiotherapists indicated that fatigue was a barrier. Only physiotherapists at the center with a structured aerobic exercise program had received continuing education on aerobic exercise in stroke. The lack of resources at rehabilitation centers without a structured aerobic exercise program needs to be addressed. There remains a need for continuing education on aerobic training in stroke, specifically on assessment and prescription using a standardized approach.
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