Experiences of older adults in a group physiotherapy program at a rehabilitation hospital: A qualitative study

J Hosp Med. 2016 May;11(5):358-62. doi: 10.1002/jhm.2550. Epub 2016 Jan 28.


Physiotherapy delivered in a group setting has been shown to be effective in a variety of populations. However, little is known about the attitudes of older adults toward participating in group physiotherapy. The objectives of this study were to explore older inpatients' perceptions and experiences of group physiotherapy using qualitative methods. Twelve hospitalized adults aged ≥65 years who were involved in a larger randomized controlled trial undertook individual semistructured interviews regarding their experiences in group physiotherapy. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and line by line, iterative thematic analysis was undertaken. Descriptive codes were developed, compared, and grouped together to create themes. Analysis revealed 6 major themes and 10 subthemes. All participants reported feeling happy to attend group sessions, a satisfactory alternative to individual physiotherapy. Participants described physical benefits that increased their motivation, and comparisons with their peers either motivated them or made them feel gratitude for their own health. Perceived attentiveness of group instructors contributed to participants reporting that treatment was individualized and similar to individual physiotherapy. Motivation and camaraderie with peers contributed to their enjoyment of group physiotherapy. Hospitalized older adults enjoyed exercising with their peers and valued the physical and social benefits of group physiotherapy. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2016;11:358-362. © 2016 Society of Hospital Medicine.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Exercise Therapy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires