Preparing for change in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease: A qualitative evaluation of cardiac rehabilitation within a region of Scotland

Alexander M. Clark, Rosaline S. Barbour, Paul D. McIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Secondary prevention of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is often poorly managed and its benefits attained in only a minority of those with CHD. Guidelines developed in the United Kingdom and North America suggest that in future cardiac rehabilitation programmes should provide services through individualized programmes that cater for a wide range of conditions associated with CHD. This will involve substantial and costly changes to current programmes that are mostly standardized and for postmyocardial infarction patients. Based on change theory, this study examined the dynamics, strengths and weaknesses of an existing programme in a Scottish region which was due to undergo the changes suggested by guidelines. Aim. To examine the perceived provision of secondary prevention services for CHD from the perspectives of health professionals within one region in the West of Scotland. Methods. A purposive sample of 14 health professionals (eight primary and six secondary care health professionals) was selected to cover a range of professional roles including both specialists and generalists. Separate focus group discussions (2) were held with primary care and secondary care professionals. Findings. Whilst the health professionals were enthusiastic about CHD prevention and their involvement, they perceived barriers to the success of the existing service as being complex and multifactorial, including patient, social and service-related factors. Although both groups identified motivation as the most influential personal factor, secondary care staff tended to focus on the importance of patient factors in influencing motivation to change, whereas the primary care staff referred more to the cumulative effects of social and cultural factors. Professionals highlighted weaknesses in the transition between hospital and community-based services with regard to the information flow between primary and secondary care. Conclusions. Although the study has immediate relevance for the local area, it highlighted issues of more general relevance to cardiac rehabilitation programme development and intersectoral working, such as communications and role perceptions in multi-professional working and the need to adapt services to local socioeconomic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep. 2002


  • Cardiac Health Promotion
  • Change
  • Development
  • Interface
  • Organizations
  • Primary care
  • Quality
  • Services


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