Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement

Articles

Factors that Influence Physical Activity in Long-term Care: Perspectives of Residents, Staff, and Significant Others*

Kathleen Benjamina1a3 c1, Nancy Edwardsa1a2a3, Paulette Guitarda4, Mary Ann Murraya1, Wenda Caswella6 and Marie Josée Perriera5

a1 School of Nursing, University of Ottawa

a2 Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa

a3 Community Health Research Unit

a4 School of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Ottawa

a5 School of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, Queen’s University

a6 School of Nursing, Nipissing University

RÉSUMÉ

L’activité physique a des répercussions positives sur la santé des ainés. Toutefois, notre compréhension des facteurs qui influencent l’activité physique pour les résidents en soins de longue durée est limitée. Des résidents, des personnes significatives et des employés de neuf établissements de longue durée ont participé à des groupes de discussion (focus group). L’analyse de ces groupes de discussion révèle trois thèmes majeurs reflétant des facteurs qui semblent mitiger l’activité physique : 1) appui inadéquat pour l’activité physique; 2) routines institutionnelles omniprésentes; et 3) l’environnement physique. Tous les participants considèrent que l’activité physique est un facteur important pour préserver la santé. Des facteurs individuels, structuraux et environnementaux ont un impact sur la quantité et la qualité de l’activité physique accessible aux résidents. Ces résultats confirment le besoin de développer des stratégies pratiques et des moyens pour modifier les barrières et ancrer l’activité physique dans les soins de longue durée.

ABSTRACT

Physical activity has been linked to positive health outcomes for frail seniors. However, our understanding of factors that influence the physical activity of residents in the long-term care (LTC) setting is limited. This article describes our work with focus groups, one component of a multi-component study that examined factors influencing the physical activity of LTC residents. Residents, significant others, and staff from nine LTC facilities participated in these focus groups. Analysis of group discussions revealed three themes reflecting factors that mitigate the provision of physical activity: (a) inadequate support for physical activity, (b) pervasive institutional routines, and (c) physical environment constraints. All participants considered physical activity important to health preservation. Individual, structural, and environmental factors affected the quantity and quality of physical activity accessed by residents. These findings confirm the need to develop practical strategies and ways to address modifiable barriers and embed physical activity into LTC systems of care.

(Received August 26 2009)

(Accepted February 18 2011)

(Online publication June 27 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to / La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à: Kathleen Benjamin, R.N., Ph.D. (candidate) C/O School of Nursing University of Ottawa 451 Smyth Road, Rm. 1118H Ottawa, ON K1H 8M5 (Khold019@uottawa.ca)

Footnotes

* This project was supported by the Community Health Research Unit at the University of Ottawa and the Seniors Health Research Transfer Network (SHRTN). Both are funded by the Government of Ontario. Nancy Edwards holds a Nursing Chair funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Government of Ontario.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. Publication does not imply any endorsement of these views by the Government of Ontario, the Community Health Research Unit, or the SHRTN. The authors thank all of the participating long-term care facilities. The study would not have been possible without their support.