Barriers and facilitators of healthcare professionals supporting heart failure patients to increase physical activity levels

Kirsten Ashley, Mei Yee Tang, Cara Jordan, Darren Flynn, Alan Batterham, Leah Avery

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Background: Physical activity (PA) interventions are effective for improving heart failure (HF) symptoms and quality of life. However, supporting HF patients to be physically active is hindered during routine care by a lack of evidence-informed training for healthcare professionals (HCPs). We aimed to identify barriers and facilitators to HCPs supporting HF patients to increase levels of PA.
Methods: HCPs from three NHS trusts in northeast England participated in a Behaviour Change Wheel (BCW) informed service evaluation, involving completion of a COM-B self-evaluation questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. Interview data were analysed with reference to the Theoretical Domains Framework.
Findings: Eighteen HCPs with different clinical roles (e.g. nurses, consultant cardiologists, physiotherapists) participated. Analysis of COM-B questionnaire data highlighted ‘opportunities’ as the most salient component influencing promotion of PA. Nine theoretical domains were identified from interview data. Barriers to promoting PA included sub-optimal knowledge of PA guidelines; absence of skills to address individual patient needs; time constraints; and low confidence to promote PA due to concerns about patient safety. Facilitators included adopting a multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach; behavioural change training in the context of HF; prompts; and support from colleagues.
Discussion: Future research should focus on service improvement (i.e. training and MDT working) to enable HCPs to acquire skills to provide personalised PA support to patients, as well as support for HCPs to identify opportunities to promote PA during routine practice. Findings will inform the development of a theory- and evidence-informed, training intervention for HCPs to support HF patients to increase PA levels.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2022
Event36th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society: Charting New Territories in Health Psychology - Bratislava, Slovakia
Duration: 23 Aug 202227 Aug 2022


Conference36th Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society
Abbreviated titleehps2022
Internet address


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