Background and purpose: Despite the positive effects of physical activity on numerous aspects of health, many older adults remain sedentary even after participating in physical activity interventions. Standardized exercise programs do not necessarily bring about the behavioral change that is necessary. Therefore, a patient-centered approach is needed. The purpose of this study was to develop and assess the acceptability and potential effectiveness of the Coach2Move strategy; a physical therapy (PT) approach aimed at improving the long-term level of physical activity in mobility-limited older adults.
Methods: The Coach2Move strategy was developed on the basis of 2 systematic literature studies and expert consultations. Multiple focus group meetings and a Delphi procedure were organized to gain consensus on the Coach2Move strategy. Acceptability and potential effectiveness were studied in a pilot study with a pre-/postdesign in which 2 physical therapists and 12 patients participated. To assess acceptability, patients were interviewed, discussion were held with the involved physical therapists was held, and health records were studied. Potential effectiveness was tested measuring the level of physical activity, frailty, quality of life, and mobility before and after treatment.
Results: On the basis of the literature study and expert consultations, an algorithm based on the Hypothesis Oriented Algorithm for Clinicians Part II was developed: the Coach2Move approach. Key elements of the Coach2Move approach include an extensive intake using motivational interviewing, clinical reasoning, coaching to increase physical activity and self-management, focusing on meaningful activities, and working according to 3 patient-tailored intervention profiles with a predefined number of sessions. The pilot study showed high appraisal of the strategy by both physical therapists and patients. Moreover, a potential effect on the level of physical activity, frailty, quality of life, and mobility was observed.
Discussion and conclusion: Because the pilot study was not randomized or controlled and included a small sample, no conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of the Coach2Move strategy. However, all suggestions made in this study were implemented in an ongoing, randomized controlled trial in which the Coach2Move strategy will be compared to usual care PT. In conclusion, the Coach2Move strategy can be considered acceptable in PT practice and showed potential benefits. The results on the (cost-)effectiveness of this strategy based on a large, randomized, controlled trial are expected in 2014.