Barton C1,2, Sherwood J3, Ackerman I3,4, Brusco T3, Jennings S3, Young K3 Crossley K1, Kemp J1, Wallis J1,3
1La Trobe Sports and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, 2Department of Surgery, St Vincent’s Hospital, University of Melbourne, 3Cabrini Hospital, 4University of Southern Denmark.
Aim: To explore barriers and enablers (from referrer and patient perspectives) to engagement with an evidence-based, 8-week physiotherapy-led education and exercise program for knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Method: Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with people with knee OA and potential referrers (GPs, surgeons, rheumatologists) to physiotherapy care. We explored barriers and enablers to participation in a specific 8-week OA education and exercise program – Good Life with osteoArthritis from Denmark (GLA:D®), as well as other non-surgical and surgical care for knee OA. Initial framework analysis was followed by an inductive and grounded approach, supported by NVivo software, until no new themes emerged.
Results: Twenty people with knee OA (including 10 who had completed GLA:D®), and 15 doctors (5 GPs, 5 surgeons, 5 Rheumatologists) participated in the interviews. Key barriers to education and exercise participation perceived by both patients and referrers included financial and physical access issues, available time to attend, and beliefs that other treatments would be more beneficial or accessible (pharmaceuticals, surgery). Key enablers perceived by both patients and referrers included a doctors’ recommendation, enhanced program availability, and improved funding. Patients also highlighted that understanding OA and the potential benefits of exercise would be key enablers.
Significance of the findings: Uptake of evidence-based knee OA programs such as GLA:D® may be increased by (i) Improved funding for participation; (ii) increased service availability – greater number of times and geographical locations; and (iii) educational resources and initiatives for patients and doctors to highlight the value of education and exercise-therapy.
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For more information about this abstract, please contact:
Christian Barton, Sports and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University
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