Physical activity service provision in hospice care: A national mixed-methods study

Author: Shaunna Burke1, Natalie Hopkins1, Alison Divine1, Bassey Ebenso2, Matthew Allsop2
1 School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
2 Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
Conference/Journal: Palliat Support Care
Date published: 2023 Jun 27
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1017/S1478951523000822. , Word Count: 252

Physical activity (PA) interventions help people with advanced incurable diseases to manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. However, little is known about the extent to which PA is currently delivered in hospice care in England.

To determine the extent of and intervention features of PA service provision in hospice care in England alongside barriers and facilitators to their delivery.

An embedded mixed-methods design using (1) a nationwide online survey of 70 adult hospices in England and (2) focus groups and individual interviews with health professionals from 18 hospices. Analysis of the data involved applying descriptive statistics to the numeric items and thematic analysis to the open-ended questions. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed separately.

The majority of responding hospices (n = 47/70, 67%) promoted PA in routine care. Sessions were most often delivered by a physiotherapist (n = 40/47, 85%) using a personalized approach (n = 41/47, 87%) and included resistance/thera bands, Tai Chi/Chi Qong, circuit exercises, and yoga. The following qualitative findings were revealed: (1) variation among hospices in their capacity to deliver PA, (2) a desire to embed a hospice culture of PA, and (3) a need for an organizational commitment to PA service provision.

Significance of results:
While many hospices in England deliver PA, there is considerable variation in its delivery across sites. Funding and policy action may be needed to support hospices to initiate or scale up services and address inequity in access to high-quality interventions.

Keywords: Barriers and facilitators; Hospice care; Mixed methods; Physical activity; Quality of life; Symptom management.

PMID: 37365803 DOI: 10.1017/S1478951523000822