Participant perceptions of a novel physiotherapy approach ("Blue Prescription") for increasing levels of physical activity in people with multiple sclerosis: a qualitative study following intervention

Disabil Rehabil. 2013 Jul;35(14):1174-81. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.723792. Epub 2012 Oct 3.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate experiences of participating in a feasibility trial of a novel physiotherapy intervention (Blue Prescription). The trial was designed to increase participation in physical activity for people with multiple sclerosis living in the community.

Methods: We individually interviewed 27 volunteers from two New Zealand metropolitan areas at the conclusion of their participation in Blue Prescription. We asked volunteers about what participation in Blue Prescription had meant to them; how participants intended to continue with their physical activity; how the approach differed from previous experiences of physiotherapy encounters; and how Blue Prescription could be improved. Interviews were semi-structured, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using a General Inductive Approach.

Results: 'Support' was identified as a key theme with three sub-themes: 'The therapeutic relationship'; 'The Blue Prescription approach'; and 'Supporting themselves'. We identified two additional themes 'Motivation to participate' and 'Improving the Blue Prescription approach'.

Conclusion: A novel approach (Blue Prescription) which facilitates engagement in higher levels of desirable physical activity was perceived by participants to be supportive, motivating and enabling. This approach might be particularly useful for people with multiple sclerosis ready to adopt new health-related behaviours. For future studies, this approach requires further refinement, particularly with regards to methods of communication and evaluation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Motor Activity
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy*
  • New Zealand
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / psychology*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / trends
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Program Evaluation
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires