Web-based Physiotherapy for people affected by Multiple Sclerosis (WEBPaMS); a single blind, randomised controlled feasibility study

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Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Nov 2018

Abstract

Background: Web-based physiotherapy (WBP) has some advantages over face-to-face programmes for people with Multiple Sclerosis (pwMS).
Objective: To examine the feasibility of a multi-centre, Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) to evaluate WBP compared to a standard home exercise programme in pwMS.
Methods: Ninety pwMS were randomised to a six month individualised, home exercise programme via WBP or sheet of exercises. Outcome measures (0, 3, 6, 9 months) included adherence, 2min-walk test, 25ft-walk, Berg Balance Scale, MSIS-29, physical activity and healthcare resource use. Interviews were undertaken with 24 participants and 3 physiotherapists.
Results: Almost 25% of people approached agreed to take part. Attrition was 18% and 11% in the intervention and comparator group respectively. WBP was acceptable and feasible with no intervention-related adverse events. Adherence was 40-63% in the WBP and 53-71% in the comparator group. There were no significant changes in outcome measures but wide variation in exercise prescription and few changes to participants’ programmes.
Conclusion: This study has determined the recruitment strategy, sample size and feasibility/acceptability of WBP. Before progressing to a definitive RCT uncertainties such as strategies to reduce variation in exercise prescription, optimum number/format of contacts with staff, and staff training in remote delivery of services need to be addressed.