A carer-focused intervention to improve incidental physical activity levels in people with an intellectual disability: a pilot study.

Delia Weston, Nikki Milne, Angela Crompton, Judy Chesney, Helen Keogh

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearchpeer-review


Question: Can a carer-centred coaching program with weekly support by a physiotherapist, increase incidental physical activity levels and energy expenditure for individuals with intellectual disability?
Design: Quasi-experimental pre-post pilot study.
Participants: Ten individuals (males: n=3; females: n=7, mean age: 37.14yr) with intellectual disability and 24 of their carers recruited from group homes and day programs.
Intervention: The study protocol included informal information sessions to carers in day programs, initial home visit with participants/carers, pre-data collection using SenseWear accelerometry to measure physical activity and energy expenditure, a follow up visit discussing the SenseWear report with carers, six consecutive weekly coaching sessions with carers, post-data collection using SenseWear.
Outcomes Measures: Physical Activity Levels, Total Energy Expenditure (kJ) and Metabolic Equivalents (METs) were determined using SenseWear accelerometry pre- and post-intervention.
Results: Increased physical activity levels were achieved from this six-week carer-focused intervention (PAL: t=-2.46, DF=6, p=.053) which resulted in significant increases in mean Total Energy Expenditure as measured in kJ (t=2.554, DF=6, p=.043) and METs (t=-2.640, DF=6, p=.039).
Conclusion: A six-week carer focused intervention using a weekly coaching method by physiotherapists can increase physical activity and energy expenditure of individuals with intellectual disability in the short term.

Key Practice Points:

• Australians as a whole are inactive, with only 34% of individuals with intellectual disability meeting National Health Guidelines for physical activity.

• The carer-focused coaching method is simple and effective, and should be considered when trying to effect behaviour change regarding increasing physical activity levels in individuals with intellectual disability who require carer support.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2015
EventCONNECT 2015 Physiotherapy Conference - Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 3 Oct 20156 Oct 2015
https://issuu.com/graydesigngroup/docs/apa_symposium_2015_ebook_program_a4 (Conference Program)
https://issuu.com/graydesigngroup/docs/apa_2015_conference_abstracts_handb (Book of Abstracts)


ConferenceCONNECT 2015 Physiotherapy Conference
Abbreviated titleAPA 2015
CityGold Coast
Internet address


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