(a) background: Home-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an attractive alternative for frail older patients who are unable to participate in hospital-based CR. Yet, the feasibility of home-based CR provided by primary care physiotherapists (PTs) to these patients remains uncertain.
(b) objective: To investigate physiotherapists' (PTs) clinical experience with a guideline-centered, home-based CR protocol for frail older patients.
(c) methods: A qualitative study examined the home-based CR protocol of a randomized controlled trial. Observations and interviews of the CR-trained primary care PTs providing home-based CR were conducted until data saturation. Two researchers separately coded the findings according to the theoretical framework of Gurses.
(d) results: The enrolled PTs (n = 8) had a median age of 45 years (IQR 27-57), and a median work experience of 20 years (IQR 5-33). Three principal themes were identified that influence protocol-adherence by PTs and the feasibility of protocol-implementation: 1) feasibility of exercise testing and the exercise program; 2) patients' motivation and PTs' motivational techniques; and 3) interdisciplinary collaboration with other healthcare providers in monitoring patients' risks.
(e) conclusion: Home-based CR for frail patients seems feasible for PTs. Recommendations on the optimal intensity, use of home-based exercise tests and measurement tools, and interventions to optimize self-regulation are needed to facilitate home-based CR.
Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; cardiac rehabilitation; comorbidity; frail older patients; home-based.