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A qualitative study to explore patient and staff perceptions of intradialytic exercise Open Access


Author or creator
Thompson, Stephanie
Tonelli, Marcello
Klarenbach, Scott
Molzahn, Anita
Additional contributors
Quality of life
End-stage renal disease
Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
Qualitative research
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
Background and objectives Randomized, controlled trials show that regular exercise is beneficial for patients on hemodialysis. Intradialytic exercise may have additional benefits, such as amelioration of treatment-related symptoms. However, the factors that influence the implementation of intradialytic exercise are largely unknown. Design, setting, participants, & measurements Individual semistructured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of patients on hemodialysis who had participated in a pilot randomized, controlled trial on intradialytic exercise and dialysis staff that worked in the unit during the trial. The trial took place from July to December of 2014 and enrolled 31 patients. Interviews were conducted from April to December of 2014. Interview coding followed an inductive and broad-based approach. Thematic analysis was used to group codes into common themes, first individually and then, across staff and patient interviews. Results Twenty-five patients and 11 staff were interviewed. Three themes common to both groups emerged: support, norms (expected practices) within the dialysis unit, and the role of the dialysis nurse. The support of the kinesiologist enhanced patients’ confidence and sense of capability and was a key component of implementation. However, the practice of initiating exercise at the start of the shift was a barrier to staff participation. Staff focused on the technical aspects of their role in intradialytic exercise, whereas patients viewed encouragement and assistance with intradialytic exercise as the staff’s role. An additional theme of no time (for staff to participate in intradialytic exercise) was influenced by its low priority in their workflow and the demands of the unit. The staff’s emphasis on patients setting up their own equipment and enhanced social interaction among participants were additional themes that conveyed the unintended consequences of the intervention. Conclusions The kinesiologist-patient interactions and staff readiness for intradialytic exercise were important factors in the implementation of intradialytic exercise. Understanding how unit workflow and the personal values of staff can influence implementation may improve the design of intradialytic exercise interventions.
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© 2016 Thompson, S., Tonelli, M., Klarenbach, S., & Molzahn, A. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.

Citation for previous publication
Thompson, Stephanie, Tonelli, Marcello, Klarenbach, Scott, & Molzahn, Anita. (2016). A qualitative study to explore patient and staff perceptions of intradialytic exercise. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 11(6), 1024-1033. doi:​CJN.11981115


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