Perspectives on physical activity in older people with heart failure

Alison Evans

Purpose: To explore the perceived benefits, barriers and threats related to physical activity in older people with heart failure to inform educational interventions which may improve adherence.

Methods: In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with two people over 71 years hospitalized with heart failure and three health care professionals. Thematic analysis was applied to the data and findings were related to the Health Belief Model.

Findings: Participants valued the emotional benefits, yet perceived a degree of threat, associated with being active. Perceived barriers were co-morbidities, logistics (e.g. transportation, weather), and lack of knowledge. Factors that impacted patient education were interpersonal connection, timing and prioritization of information.

Conclusion: The Health Belief Model can assist professionals in providing tailored physical activity education to people with heart failure. Future research might address how perceptions about physical activity and educational strategies influence participation in cardiac rehabilitation in this population after discharge.