Background: A significant proportion of eligible patients do not participate in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation. The purpose of this study was to identify barriers to participation and adherence to outpatient cardiac rehabilitation by querying program staff.
Methods: In January 1999, a survey was mailed to all North Carolina program directors of outpatient cardiac rehabilitation programs. The response rate was 85% (61/72).
Results: Across programs, the most common barrier to participation in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation was financial. Other barriers identified by program directors included lack of patient motivation, patient work or time conflicts, and lack of physician support or referral. When program directors were asked to cite reasons that referred patients provided for not participating in rehabilitation, the most common answer was financial or lack of motivation or commitment. The most common reason cited for dropping out of the rehabilitation program was work, followed by financial reasons and lack of motivation or commitment.
Conclusions: The results of this statewide survey of program directors indicated a common set of barriers that many patients currently face to begin and continue participating in outpatient cardiac rehabilitation.