Raising Awareness of the Importance of Exercise Training in Solid Organ Transplant: Description of a Canadian Knowledge Dissemination Project.

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Abstract

Introduction

Solid organ transplant (SOT) recipients experience impaired exercise capacity and low physical activity levels, even years after transplant. Healthcare professionals and SOT recipients alike, cite lack of knowledge on the guidelines for exercise training as a barrier to engaging in physical activity. The objectives of this study were 1) to increase the awareness of healthcare and medical professionals on the evidence for exercise training; 2) to conduct an educational symposium to raise the awareness of SOT recipients on exercise; and 3) to develop web-based resources for professionals and patients to disseminate knowledge in this field.

Materials & Methods

The steps of this dissemination project were overseen by a national committee (https://www.cntrp.ca/can-restore-steering-committee). The key steps in implementation included: 1) summarizing the research evidence on the effects of exercise in SOT; 2) providing on-site, interactive presentations on the evidence-base for exercise to healthcare professionals, physicians and program directors at the largest multi-organ transplant centers in Canada; 3) conducting a two-day, workshop for SOT recipients with education sessions and hands-on fitness and sports training, and 4) the development of web-based resources.

Results & Discussion

We provided presentations at 9 multi-organ transplant centres in Canada, with over 280 healthcare and medical professionals in attendance. The mean evaluation rating of the presentations was 4.4 (1=poor, 2=fair, 3=fair, 4=good, 5=excellent). The educational workshop was delivered for patients and their families, with 96 individuals in attendance. Attendees ranged in age from 4 to over 71 years old and represented all SOT types. Sessions were rated highly on all criteria [mean = 4.3 to 4.8 for education, and 4.6 to 4.9 for training]. A bilingual website was created with resources for healthcare professionals and patients, including videos and slides of the presentations and education workshop (www.cntrp.ca/exercise).

Conclusion

This dissemination project provided unique and sustainable opportunities for healthcare and medical professionals to increase their knowledge and enhance their ability to apply the evidence for exercise training in their practice. With increased knowledge, patients were also empowered to engage in exercise, and to advocate for improved access to rehabilitation programs and educational materials at their transplant centres. This project also created a national network of individuals interested in improving exercise and physical activity opportunities for SOT recipients in Canada, which will lead to better engagement in research and clinical practice in this field.

Conclusion

Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Dissemination Grant. Toronto Transplant Institute - Education Innovation Grant. Astellas Pharma - Unrestricted Grant.

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