Aim: To explore Chinese health care professionals' perceptions of cardiac rehabilitation for patients with coronary heart disease in mainland China.
Background: Coronary heart disease is a rapidly growing major health problem in mainland China and little is known about the current provision of rehabilitation for this population.
Design: A qualitative study.
Methods: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 18 Chinese health care professionals. The interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed and content analysis was used to identify categories.
Results: Content analysis of the data revealed three major categories: underdeveloped cardiac rehabilitation services, multiple obstacles to the establishment of a cardiac rehabilitation programme and a perceived need for professional guidance to patients.
Conclusion: The current situation of cardiac rehabilitation in hospitals of China is poor with multiple obstacles prohibiting the development of cardiac rehabilitation services in the country and this has resulted in high rates of recurrence of heart attacks, coronary risk factors going undetected and/or untreated and psychological distress being observed among Chinese coronary heart disease patients. Relevance to clinical practice. The findings provide useful pointers for Chinese health professionals to explore ways of providing an effective, safe, convenient and culturally sensitive rehabilitation programme for Chinese patients with coronary heart disease.