Barriers and facilitators to early rehabilitation in mechanically ventilated patients-a theory-driven interview study

Shannon L. Goddard, Fabiana Lorencatto, Ellen Koo, Louise Rose, Eddy Fan, Michelle E. Kho, Dale M. Needham, Gordon D. Rubenfeld, Jill J. Francis, Brian H. Cuthbertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite a supportive evidence base and a push to implement, the uptake of early rehabilitation in critical care has been inconsistent. The objective of this study was to explore barriers and facilitators to early rehabilitation for critically ill patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation. Methods: Using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) of behavior change, we conducted semi-structured interviews exploring barriers and facilitators to early rehabilitation among four purposively sampled ICU clinician groups (nurses, rehabilitation professionals, respiratory therapists, and physicians). The TDF is a comprehensive framework of 14 "construct domains," synthesized from 33 theories of behavior that was developed to study determinants of behavior and to design interventions to improve evidence-based healthcare practice. A topic guide was developed and piloted based on the TDF and expert knowledge. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were content analyzed by coding items into domains and then synthesized into more specific, over-arching themes or "beliefs." An expert consensus group used structured decision rules to classify beliefs as high, moderate, or low in importance. Results: We interviewed 40 stakeholders from the four clinician groups and identified 135 separate beliefs. Of these, 19 were classified as high, 40 as moderate, and 76 of low importance as barriers or facilitators. All beliefs classified as highly important fell within one of seven TDF domains: skills, social/professional role and identity, beliefs about capabilities, beliefs about consequences, environmental context/resources, social influences, and behavioral regulation. Beliefs of lower importance fell under the following seven domains: knowledge; optimism; reinforcement; intention; goals; memory, attention, and decision processes; and emotion. Quantitative differences in stated beliefs about early rehabilitation between professional groups were not common. Conclusions: This study identified important barriers and facilitators to early rehabilitation in critical care patients. Domains identified as important should be considered when designing interventions to increase uptake of early rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalJournal of Intensive Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 23 2018


  • Critical illness
  • Health personnel
  • Intensive care
  • Qualitative research
  • Quality improvement
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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