Person-centred goal setting for exercise after stroke
Sugavanam, Thava Priya
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Sugavanam, T. (2014) Person-centred goal setting for exercise after stroke.
Clinical guidelines and policies recommend exercise after stroke. Person-centred goal setting may facilitate the uptake and maintenance of physical activity. The aim of this work was to design and evaluate a goal setting intervention in an exercise after stroke setting. Five interlinked studies were undertaken within the development and feasibility stages of the MRC framework of complex interventions. A systematic review examined 17 observational studies (11 quantitative, six qualitative) for the effects and experiences of goal setting in stroke rehabilitation (study one). Despite some positive effects, no firm conclusion could be reached regarding its effectiveness. Patients and professionals differed in their experiences. Barriers to goal setting outnumbered facilitators. The lack of a standardised goal setting method in stroke rehabilitation was highlighted. A goal setting intervention tailored to exercise after stroke was developed in study two, based on: findings from study one, Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure. The intervention components were: dedicated time, patient education, patient involvement, regular follow-up, and a purpose-designed workbook. This intervention was piloted in study three alongside validation of the activPAL™ activity monitor with 12 stroke survivors. The intervention did not require modification. Only two variables of the activPAL™ (time spent in sitting and upright) had acceptable validity and reliability. Feasibility of the intervention and users’ experiences were investigated in study four with four stroke survivors, using mixed methods case studies. Intervention delivery and compliance were acceptable with no adverse effects. Findings regarding acceptability and content suggested a need for further work. Participants’ interest and engagement in goal setting were influenced by their familiarity with goal setting, interest in physical activity, functional ability and levels of self-efficacy, highlighting the individualisation required within goal setting. Experiences of exercise professionals involved in exercise after stroke regarding goal setting were explored in study five through three focus groups (n=6; n=6; n=3). Although goal setting was viewed positively, participants felt that its potential effectiveness was not always translated into practice due to barriers encountered: clients’ readiness to change, professionals’ lack of knowledge about stroke and a number of organisational factors. Suggestions to improve goal setting in practice were discussed. This work has enhanced our understanding of goal setting as a complex intervention. Recognition of the potential benefits of goal setting by both service users and providers, amidst the challenges, argues in favour of goal setting in the exercise after stroke setting. Areas for further research have been discussed.