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Service evaluation of an outpatient exercise class after critical illness

Suzahn Wilson, Helen Else, Jane Cross

  • Abstract
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To evaluate an outpatient exercise rehabilitation programme following critical illness and make recommendations to improve the service for patients.


Mixed-method design using qualitative interviews with people who have recently completed the programme and audit data from the preceding two years. The programme is hosted within a UK district general hospital outpatient therapy department.


Adults who completed the physical rehabilitation programme between June 2016 and June 2018 were eligible to participate. Participants were interviewed in their own homes using a semi-structured format (n = 8). Audit data included 25 sets of participant data within this time frame which equates to around 3% of patients discharged from the critical care unit in the same period.

Outcome measures

Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using grounded theory methodology. The primary outcome measure from audit data was exercise capacity (6-minute walk test). Secondary outcome measures were Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL), Anxiety and Depression (HADS).


Participants struggled for independence and described the physical and psychological challenges associated with this. Audit data showed significant improvements in physical function, anxiety, depression, and HRQOL following the programme.


Physical and emotional challenges, recruitment, accessibility to resources and delivery of information to patients were barriers to implementation of an outpatient exercise programme. This service may promote physical function and vitality for patients, but findings are not generalisable due to small sample size and limited demographic information.

2021 Journal (Vol. 53 Issue 2)
Journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care. Volume 53. Issue 2. 2021 Article on: p5-20
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