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A qualitative exploration of the experience and attitudes of exercise professionals using telehealth for people with mental illness
journal contributionposted on 2023-03-15, 03:28 authored by Grace McKeon, Caroline Fitzgerald, Bonnie Furzer, Simon Rosenbaum, Robert StantonRobert Stanton, Oscar Lederman, Samuel B Harvey, Kemi Wright
Purpose: Physical activity is an important component of treatment for people living with mental illness, and exercise practitioners are well placed to deliver these interventions. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lock-down regulations, exercise professionals have rapidly adapted to the online delivery of services to continue care for their clients. To date, the research surrounding the delivery of exercise sessions via telehealth for this population has been scarce. Therefore, this study aims to explore how exercise professionals working in mental health have adapted to telehealth, the barriers and facilitators they have experienced and the implications for the future. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative study using semi-structure interviews was conducted. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Findings: Nine exercise physiologists working in mental health settings in Australia participated in the interviews. Two main themes were explored. The first related to the implementation of telehealth and was divided into four sub-themes: service delivery, accessibility and suitability, technology barriers and facilitators, adaptations to exercise prescription. The second theme related to attitudes and was categorised into two sub-themes: attitudes towards telehealth and future recommendations. Practical implications: Telehealth appears to be a feasible and well accepted platform to deliver exercise sessions for people with mental illness, and this study provides guidance for clinicians including service and training recommendations. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to examine the experiences of exercise physiologists working in mental health and using telehealth.
Number of Pages16
Author Research Institute
- Appleton Institute