Implementing a theory-based intradialytic exercise programme in practice: A quality improvement project

Hannah M.L. Young*, Sushant Jeurkar, Darren R. Churchward, Maurice Dungey, David J. Stensel, Nicolette C. Bishop, Sharlene A. Greenwood, Sally J. Singh, Alice C. Smith, James O. Burton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Research evidence outlines the benefits of intradialytic exercise (IDE), yet implementation into practice has been slow, ostensibly due to a lack of patient and staff engagement. The aim of this quality improvement project was to improve patient outcomes via the introduction of an IDE programme, evaluate patient uptake and sustainability and enhance the engagement of routine haemodialysis (HD) staff with the delivery of the IDE programme. Methods. We developed and refined an IDE programme, including interventions designed to increase patient and staff engagement that were based on the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), using a series of ‘Plan, Do, Study, Act’ (PDSA) cycles. The programme was introduced at two UK National Health Service HD units. Process measures included patient uptake, withdrawals, adherence and HD staff involvement. Outcome measures were patient-reported functional capacity, anxiety, depression and symptomology. All measures were collected over 12 months. Results. A total of 95 patients were enrolled in the IDE programme; 64 (75%) were still participating at 3 months, decreasing to 41 (48%) at 12 months. Adherence was high (78%) at 3 months, decreasing to 63% by 12 months. The provision of IDE by HD staff accounted for a mean of 2 (5%) sessions per 3-month time point. Patients displayed significant improvements in functional ability (P ¼ 0.01) and a reduction in depression (P ¼ 0.02) over 12 months, but the effects seen were limited to those who completed the programme. Conclusions. A theory-based IDE programme is feasible and leads to improvement in functional capacity and depression. Sustaining IDE over time is complicated by high levels of patient withdrawal from the programme. Significant change at an organizational level is required to enhance sustainability by increasing HD staff engagement or access to professional exercise support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-840
Number of pages9
JournalCKJ: Clinical Kidney Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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