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Original Research

Investigating the feasibility of promoting and sustaining delivery of cardiac rehabilitation in a rural community

Submitted: 16 June 2011
Revised: 2 November 2011
Published: 2 January 2012

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Author(s) : Courtney-Pratt H, Johnson C, Cameron-Tucker H, Sanderson S.

Citation: Courtney-Pratt H, Johnson C, Cameron-Tucker H, Sanderson S.  Investigating the feasibility of promoting and sustaining delivery of cardiac rehabilitation in a rural community. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2012; 12: 1838. Available: (Accessed 20 October 2017)


L-R; Caddi Johnson, Helen Cameron-Tucker, Sue Sanderson, Helen Courtney-Pratt

Introduction:  Members of rural communities face the dual burden of high rates of cardiovascular disease and barriers to accessing cardiac rehabilitation programs (CRPs). While rural healthcare providers recognise the need for local delivery of such programs, they are constrained by funding and resource limitations.
Methods:  This research sought to explore the feasibility, acceptance and support for the delivery of a secondary prevention CRP in a rural community. Eight local participants were recruited to a pilot CRP following cardiac surgery, diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and/or identification by health practitioners as being at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The key measures of success were the ability of the team to provide a program based on self-management principles, with a local and collaborative focus. The Health Education Impact Questionnaire (HeiQ) was used to measure the effectiveness and outcomes of the CRP. Qualitative data were also used in order to enhance understandings of the efficacy of CRPs in rural settings from the participant perspective.
Results:  The delivery of a pilot program that engaged local healthcare providers in partnerships with local residents was successful. Local provision was clearly a positive aspect of the program. Participants described the program as supportive, holistic and convenient, providing new information in a framework that supported self-management. The program encouraged local collaboration that enabled continuation of the program.
Conclusions:  Local support from health professionals and participants provided strong motivation for attendance; however, the location of the program in a rural setting did not remove all travel barriers. Adhering to the principles of empowerment inherent in a self-management approach to rehabilitation meant accepting fluctuating attendance as individuals managed priorities in their lives.

Key words: Australia, cardiac rehabilitation, health promotion, rehabilitation, rural social capital.

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