Improving access to cardiac rehabilitation in rural and remote areas: A protocol for a community-based qualitative case study

Patricia E. Field, Richard C. Franklin, Ruth Barker, Ian Ring, Peter Leggat, Karla Canuto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Downloads (Pure)


Background/Aims Heart disease is the largest single cause of death and contributes to poor quality of life and high healthcare costs in Australia. There are higher rates of heart disease in rural and remote areas, with the highest rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Cardiac rehabilitation is known to improve health outcomes for people with heart disease but referral rates remain low (30.2% overall and 46% following acute coronary syndrome) in Australia. Further, access to cardiac rehabilitation in rural and remote areas is affected by there being few centre-based services, and poor use of home-based services. The aim of this protocol is to investigate: (i) understanding of cardiac rehabilitation by health staff, community leaders and community participants discharged from hospital following treatment for heart disease; (ii) access and support for cardiac rehabilitation in rural and remote areas via health service availability in each community. Methods A qualitative case study methodology, using an interpretive descriptive framework, will be used together with content analysis that will encompass identification of themes through a deductive/inductive process. Conclusions To improve access to services and health outcomes in rural and remote areas, a strong evidence base is essential. To achieve this, as well as having appropriate methodology, it is necessary to build relationships and trust with local communities and healthcare providers. This research protocol describes a qualitative community-based case study, together with processes to build sound relationships required for effective data collection through semi-structured interviews or focus groups. Each step of the pre-research planning data collection and analysis is described in detail for the guidance of future researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Community consultation
  • Qualitative research protocol
  • Remote
  • Rural


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving access to cardiac rehabilitation in rural and remote areas: A protocol for a community-based qualitative case study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this