Background: Regular airway clearance and exercise form an important part of the physiotherapy management of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Previous research has found that adherence of these patients with physiotherapy regimens is variable and influenced by factors such as sex and disease severity. To date, the adherence of Australian patients with CF has not been investigated. The aim of this study was to measure the adherence of a sample of Australian adult patients with CF and to ascertain factors that improved or decreased their adherence with physiotherapy.
Methods: Patients attending an Australian CF Unit were surveyed by an independent physiotherapist using a questionnaire based on the Manchester Cystic Fibrosis Compliance Questionnaire.
Results: Fifty seven of the 84 patients registered with the Unit (67.9% response rate) completed the survey. Over the previous six months, 96.5% of patients reported doing some form of airway clearance, with 70.2% doing this daily or only occasionally missing one or two days. Regular exercise was performed by 91.2% of patients when well, with 77.8% also exercising regularly when unwell. The most common reasons for non-adherence with airway clearance regimens were being too busy and not being bothered. Being too busy and too tired were the most frequent reasons for decreased adherence with exercise. Frequency of performing airway clearance regimens significantly improved when patients felt unwell. Adherence with exercise regimens was significantly higher in those who worked or studied full time.
Conclusion: Overall, the levels of adherence with physiotherapy regimens found in this study were considered to be satisfactory and higher than those previously reported in the literature, with time related factors being the most commonly reported reasons for decreasing adherence.