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JFSF Vol 6, No 4, December 2021, p.189-203

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-06-189


Original Article

A mixed-methods feasibility study of a sit-to-stand based exercise programme to maintain knee-extension muscle strength for older patients during hospitalisation

Peter Hartley1,2, Roman Romero-Ortuno3, Christi Deaton1

  1. Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. Department of Physiotherapy, Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  3. Discipline of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin, Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing, St James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Keywords: Acceptability, Exercise, Hospital, Older people


Objectives: To determine the acceptability of an exercise programme and to identify barriers and facilitators to compliance with the programme from the participants’ perspective. Methods: Patients aged 75 years or older were recruited within the first 36 hours of hospital admission. Participants were randomised to complete two strengthening-based (intervention arm) or stretching-based (control arm) exercise sessions per-day. At hospital discharge, participants were asked to take part in interviews with a member of the research team exploring the barriers and facilitators to adherence to the intervention. Results: 15 participants (7 intervention arm, 8 control arm) were recruited before the trial was stopped due to COVID-19. Both groups showed reductions in knee-extension strength, and improvements in functional mobility at discharge from hospital. A total of 23/60 intervention sessions were classed as ‘complete’, 12/60 as partially complete, and 25/60 were missed entirely. Eight participants took part in interviews. Intrinsic factors that impacted participation in the research, related to current health, health beliefs, and experience of multi-morbidity or functional decline. Staff had both a positive and negative effect on participant adherence to the intervention. Conclusions: The exercise intervention was well received, with most participants describing health benefits, though intervention fidelity was lower than expected.