Intradialytic exercise (IDE) may improve physical function and health-related quality of life. However, incorporating IDE into standard hemodialysis care has been slow due to feasibility challenges. We conducted a multicenter qualitative feasibility study to identify potential barriers and enablers to IDE and generate potential solutions to these factors.
We conducted 43 semistructured interviews with healthcare providers and patients across 12 hospitals in Ontario, Canada. We used the Theoretical Domains Framework and directed content analysis to analyze the data.
We identified eight relevant domains (knowledge, skills, beliefs about consequences, beliefs about capabilities, environmental context and resources, goals, social/professional role and identity, and social influences) represented by three overarching categories: knowledge, skills and expectations: lack of staff expertise to oversee exercise, uncertainty regarding exercise risks, benefits and patient interest, lack of knowledge regarding exercise eligibility; human, material and logistical resources: staff concerns regarding workload, perception that exercise professionals should supervise IDE, space, equipment and scheduling conflict concerns; and social dynamics of the unit: local champions and patient stories contribute to IDE sustainability. We developed a list of actionable solutions by mapping barriers and enablers to behavior change techniques. We also developed a feasibility checklist of 47 questions identifying key factors to address prior to IDE launch.
Evidence-based solutions to identified barriers to and enablers of IDE and a feasibility checklist may help recruit and support units, staff and patients and address key challenges to the delivery of IDE in diverse clinical and research settings.