Intentions of Canadian healthcare professionals to prescribe exercise to people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Author / Creator
    Merali, Aaliya S
  • Lack of effective treatment options exist for individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A relatively inexpensive treatment option for people with ALS (PALS) is exercise. However, it is unclear whether healthcare professionals (HCP’s), working in ALS clinics across Canada, currently prescribe exercise to PALS. The aim of this study is to measure HCP’s intentions towards exercise for their patients with ALS. The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) was used to create and structure items in the survey. The web survey was sent to 17 ALS clinics in Canada. A total of 84 HCP’s completed the survey. We analyzed factors facilitating or hindering HCP’s to prescribe strength, aerobic and flexibility exercise to PALS. Results demonstrate that HCP’s are divided in their intentions to prescribe exercise to their patients with ALS. Perceived behavioural control (PBC) was the only TPB construct significantly related to the intention to prescribe all three exercise modes among physicians in the sample. For the non-physician HCP group, a significant correlation was found between the PBC construct and the intention to prescribe flexibility exercise (P < 0.01). Significant correlations in the non-physician group were also found between intentions to prescribe exercise for all three modes of exercise and: use, familiarity, and proportion of patients capable of exercising according to the ACSM guidelines and extent of team involvement present (P < 0.01). Qualitative themes revealed that the main reasons physicians do not prescribe exercise are related to: lack of confidence and competence (31% physicians), perceptions of lack of evidence supporting benefits of exercise in PALS (22%) and lack of time, space and resources to prescribe exercise to PALS (22%). The main reasons non-physician HCP’s did not prescribe exercise to their patients were related to: lack of confidence and competence (32% non-physician) and patient compliance and tolerance (30%). Our study suggests that a main deterrent among physicians are their perceptions regarding sufficient scientific evidence to reinforce the benefits of exercise prescription for PALS. Finding from our study also indicate that 55% of non-physician HCP’s believe prescribing exercise to PALS is outside their scope of practice. These results imply that different approaches may be required to increase exercise prescription intentions among different HCP specialities.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dal Bello-Haas, Vanina (School of Rehabilitation Science McMaster University)
    • Jones, Kelvin (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Berry, Tanya (Physical Education and Recreation)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Cleary, Stuart (Communication Sciences and Disorders)
    • Jones, Kelvin (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Berry, Tanya (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Dal Bello-Haas, Vanina (School of Rehabilitation Science McMaster University)