Evaluating the uptake of the ‘My Gym’ program and exploring perceptions of physiotherapy and exercise in a neurological rehabilitation population: a mixed methods study

Ms Andrea Grima1,2, Ms Julie Louie1, Mr Chris Barr2, Ms Maayken van den Berg2

1Melbourne Health, Parkville, Australia, 2Flinders University, Tonsley, Australia

Abstract:

Aim:

  1. To evaluate if patients of mixed neurological conditions in inpatient rehabilitation, choose to access a physiotherapy gym space outside of scheduled therapy time independently (‘My Gym’).
  2. To examine the experiences of exercise and physiotherapy in inpatient rehabilitation.

Method:
Patients admitted to subacute rehabilitation with a neurological condition will be assessed by treating therapists for their eligibility to participate in the ‘My Gym’ program. Eligible patients, with or without carer assistance, will be permitted independent access to the physiotherapy gym space as desired outside of scheduled therapy time between 08:30-16:00 to follow an individualised therapist-prescribed exercise program. Semi-structured interviews will be performed to explore the experiences of exercise for neurological inpatients in rehabilitation.

Results:
Data collection is ongoing however preliminary results are promising with 3 patients currently enrolled in the My Gym program. Results presented will include demographic data, ‘My Gym’ use, safety considerations and qualitative analyses from interviews.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
Published research has demonstrated that patients have inadequate opportunities for independent practice within the hospital environment which has traditionally been clinician led and dependent. Existing cultural environments in rehabilitation limit patient independence and practice opportunities due to processes that are risk averse and time efficient.  This study describes a minimal cost method which may provide opportunities for patients with diverse neurological conditions to increase practice time, autonomy and independent self-management. This model challenges the concept of clinician led rehabilitation by exploring patient driven practice.

Biography:

Ms Andrea Grima is a Grade 2 physiotherapist who has worked at the Royal Melbourne Hospital as a physiotherapist for 7 years. She has experience in subacute and community neurological rehabilitation with both new and long-term neurological presentation conditions. She is currently completing her final year of a Masters of Clinical Rehabilitation (Neurological Physiotherapy) through Flinders University in South Australia.