Remotely supervised exercise training for heart failure

Exercise rehabilitation is vital for people with heart failure to improve their quality of life, avoid hospital admissions, and lower their risk of preventable death.

Yet people with heart failure often face a number of barriers to access exercise rehabilitation.

Through a National Heart Foundation of Australia Fellowship, Dr Jonathan Rawstorn is building on an existing evidence-based telerehabilitation program that provides real-time remote exercise monitoring, coaching, and health behaviour change support to people with coronary heart disease (e.g. heart attack).

“I’m working together with people who have heart failure and healthcare professionals who deliver exercise rehabilitation to adapt this program for the specific clinical and exercise needs of heart failure,” Dr Rawstorn explained.

“People with heart failure will then complete the adapted telerehabilitation program so we can measure the health benefits, safety, costs, and user experiences.”

Dr Rawstorn is consulting with telerehabilitation participants (i.e. people with heart failure) and healthcare professionals to understand their needs and preferences, and how the telerehabilitation program can be optimised to suit.

“My long term goal is to see this research adopted in routine clinical practice, so it can help many more people to experience the benefits of high quality exercise rehabilitation,” he said.

He said while COVID-19 had presented challenges for his research, the pandemic had shifted telehealth to the centre of modern healthcare.

“The basic rationale for telerehabilitation hasn’t changed but it’s never before been so clear to so many people. That’s helping to accelerate research and healthcare partnerships here in Australia and internationally, so it’s an exciting time to be working in my field,” he said.