Capitalising on the Interaction Between Patients & Healthcare Providers: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Needs and Wants of MS Healthcare Providers for Promoting Exercise
Objectives: To explore the resource needs and wants of providers for promoting exercise behaviour among persons with mild to moderate MS.
Methods: A basic qualitative research design, using semi-structured interviews was adopted. Thirteen participants took part who were healthcare providers in MS care: 6 neurologists, 2 registered nurses, 2 occupational therapists, 2 physical therapists and 1 physician’s assistant. Demographic variables, employment information, employment site information, and current exercise behaviour were established. Coding and thematic analysis was primarily performed by three researchers; interview, demographic, member-checking and journal data were triangulated to help clarify and explain results.
Results: Initial interview analysis indicated main themes regarding the resources healthcare providers need and want to promote exercise amongst their MS patients. Healthcare providers reported a 1) need for materials to provide directly to patients (e.g. written information on exercise benefits, programs and community resources); 2) want to give tailored programs based on patients’ disability level, exercise experience, and exercise motivations; 3) want to evaluate exercise outcomes as part of clinical assessment; 4) want for early and continued formal education and training in exercise for persons with MS; 5) need for written evidence and guidelines on exercise in MS; and 6) a need for interdisciplinary collaboration with healthcare providers or professions with specialised knowledge and experience on exercise for persons with MS.
Conclusions: The interaction between the patient and healthcare provider may be the most important opportunity to increase exercise behaviour in persons with MS. The provision of exercise resources separately for both persons with MS and healthcare providers may significantly improve the lives of those with MS.