Perceived Benefits and Barriers to Exercise for Recently Treated Adults With Acute Leukemia

Ashley Leak Bryant

AnnMarie Walton

Mackenzi Pergolotti

Brett Phillips

Charlotte Bailey

Deborah K. Mayer

Claudio Battaglini

physical activity, acute care, qualitative nursing research, acute leukemia
ONF 2017, 44(4), 413-420. DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.413-420

Purpose/Objectives: To explore perceived exercise benefits and barriers in adults with acute leukemia who recently completed an inpatient exercise intervention during induction therapy.

Research Approach: Descriptive, exploratory design using semistructured interviews.

Setting: Inpatient hematology/oncology unit at North Carolina Cancer Hospital in Chapel Hill.

Participants: 6 adults with acute leukemia aged 35–67 years.

Methodologic Approach: Content analyses of semistructured interviews that were conducted with each participant prior to hospital discharge.

Findings: Most participants were not meeting the recommended physical activity levels of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week before their diagnosis. Patients were highly pleased with the exercise intervention and the overall program. Common barriers to exercise were anxiety and aches and pains.

Interpretation: Overall, participants experienced physical and psychological benefits with the exercise intervention with no adverse events from exercising regularly during induction chemotherapy. Referrals for cancer rehabilitation management will lead to prolonged recovery benefits.

Implications for Nursing: Findings inform the nurses’ role in encouraging and supporting adults with acute leukemia to exercise and be physically active during their hospitalization. Nurses should also be responsible for assisting patients with physical function activities to increase mobility and enhance overall health-related quality of life.

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