Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is a programme of medical and lifestyle interventions offered to patients with heart disease. CR is designed to; limit the physiological and psychological effects of cardiac illness, reduce the risk of sudden death or re-infarction, modify cardiovascular risk factors, alleviate and reverse the atherosclerotic process and improve the psychosocial status of patients.
More research is needed to understand how and why patients adhere to CR and the changes in health behaviour that it advocates, in both the short and long-term. In light of the recent shift in focus from reducing mortality to improving HRQoL, there is a need to understand what aspects of CR patients think have the greatest impact on their HRQoL and whether they feel sufficiently supported to maintain health behaviour changes that lead to improved HRQoL. Interventions to facilitate these longer-term health improvements need to be evidence-based and draw on the latest health behaviour change theory, whilst also reflecting best practice for designing interventions in collaboration with end-users.
- Explore the reasons underpinning patient adherence to, and attrition from early CR.
- Explore which aspects of CR patients believe are important for improving health-related quality of life, and adhere to (or intend to adhere to) once they leave early CR.
- Understand how current practice attempts to support patients' adherence to longer-term health behaviour change and CR core components.
- Develop solutions to support patients with adherence to components of CR, facilitating the maintenance of behaviour change for long-term health and wellbeing.
This study, recruiting 500 patients, will lead to the development of a patient-centred cardiac rehabilitation intervention, designed in collaboration with patients and healthcare practitioners. The intervention will overcome some of the barriers to patients attending, and completing, cardiac rehabilitation. It will also emphasise the elements of cardiac rehabilitation that patients believe are most important for improving their HRQoL. We believe that this will make cardiac rehabilitation more relevant to patients, increase participation, and optimise HRQoL after programme completion.