Intentions of Canadian health professionals towards recommending exercise for people living with ALS Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • BACKGROUND: To provide a nationwide overview of the attitudes, social pressure, perceived ability and intentions of health professionals toward exercise prescription for people living with ALS (pALS). METHODS: An online survey of physician and non-physician health professionals (HPs) working in academic ALS clinics across Canada. RESULTS: The response rate was 48% (84/176) with 30% of respondents identifying as physicians, 63% as other HPs and the remainder as administrative or research personnel. Respondents were sharply divided in their intentions to provide exercise counsel: 24% unlikely and 45% likely. Respondents with low intentions were HPs that considered this activity outside their scope of practice. Measures of intention and attitude were more positive for flexibility compared to strength and aerobic exercise. Perceptions of social pressure and ability to provide exercise counsel were significantly correlated with intention across the three exercise modes in all respondents. Qualitative themes identified as barriers to exercise prescription were lack of confidence or competence (31% physicians, 32% HP), patient tolerance (30% HP), lack of evidence (22% physicians) and lack of infrastructure (22% physicians). CONCLUSIONS: While "lack of evidence" for the benefit of exercise was a deterrent for physicians, the larger issue for all respondents was building competence and confidence in exercise prescription for pALS.

publication date

  • December 2019