Dr Geoff Kira of the School of Sport and Exercise in Massey’s College of Health says little research has been done on cardiac rehabilitation services in New Zealand, despite 80 per cent of people not completing it.
Dr Kira says exercise and advice on diet and lifestyle are the keys to successful rehabilitation, but getting patients to engage in the programmes is difficult.
He has been awarded a fellowship by the New Zealand Heart Foundation to look at this issue, focusing on Māori in the Manawatū/Whanganui regions.
“Māori live mainly in rural areas in this region, so getting them to a clinic or a session can be a problem,” Dr Kira says. “But we have to give them access to the services somehow – whether it be home-based, or whether we do clinics and bus them in, we need to find a way that ensures they engage.”
Dr Kira will first interview potential participants in cardiac rehabilitation.
“These are people that are in hospital at the moment or are recently discharged. We need to find out what the obstacles to their continued involvement in rehabilitation are. We’ll also talk to those who provide the services to get their thoughts.”
This will give an idea of how cardiac rehabilitation services should be constructed. “At this stage we don’t know what we are going to provide or recommend. We need to go right back and ask why what we are currently offering doesn’t work.”
He hopes to have the interviews completed by the middle of next year and will begin putting together a plan for cardiac rehabilitation based on that information.