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Physical activity in hard-to-reach physically disabled people

Development, implementation and effectiveness of a community-based intervention
PhD ceremony:dr. L.A. (Leonie) Krops
When:October 03, 2018
Supervisors:prof. dr. J.H.B. (Jan) Geertzen, prof. dr. P.U. (Pieter) Dijkstra
Co-supervisor:prof. dr. R. (Rienk) Dekker
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Physical activity in hard-to-reach physically disabled people

Physical activity in hard-to-reach physically disabled people: Development, implementation and effectiveness of a community-based intervention.

Evidence for the benefits of an active lifestyle is abundant, not only for healthy people, but also people with a physical disability or chronic disease. Physical activity causes better and faster functional recovery, and improves wellbeing and social contacts. Existing interventions (structured programs) for stimulating physical activity in physically disabled people have a limited reach, since they reach their target populations mainly through rehabilitation centers, special education and general practitioners. This thesis aimed to develop, implement and evaluate a community-based intervention for stimulating physical activity, targeting hard-to-reach physically disabled people.In physically disabled people, physical activity was related to all components of health related quality of life (e.g. physical- and social functioning), except mental health. Stakeholders for an intervention (professionals and physically disabled people) indicated that an existing intervention should be adapted, and collaboration between organizations should be improved. Stakeholders suggested for instance individual coaching, role models, and activity monitoring as intervention methods. Based on stakeholders’ ideas, the existing intervention Activity Coach was adapted into Activity Coach+.Within Activity Coach+, the target population was reached through a network of organizations from health- and social backgrounds, and referred to an activity coach. After an intake at a local physiotherapist, participants were guided to existing organized and non-organized physical activity. Physical activity during activities of daily life was stimulated using an activity tracker. Participants were coached one year. Activity Coach+ appeared feasible and effective for improving walking ability, endurance capacity, dynamic balance and vitality, within the first four months after implementation.