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Telehealth delivery of GLA:D® Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • C. Barton
    Affiliations
    La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport, La Trobe University, Australia

    Department of Surgery, St Vincent’s Hospital, The University of Melbourne, Australia
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  • K. Dundules
    Affiliations
    La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport, La Trobe University, Australia
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  • A. Ezzat
    Affiliations
    La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport, La Trobe University, Australia

    Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Canada
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  • J. Kemp
    Affiliations
    La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport, La Trobe University, Australia
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  • M. Pazzinatto
    Affiliations
    La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, School of Allied Health, Human Services, and Sport, La Trobe University, Australia
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      Introduction: Knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA) affects 2.2 million Australians. Symptoms (pain and stiffness) reduce physical activity and impair health-related quality of life. Good Living with osteoArthritis from Denmark (GLA:D®) is an evidence-based program providing education and exercise-therapy for people with knee and hip OA, now offered at more than 400 sites across all states and territories in Australia. A key barrier to GLA:D® is the need to attend face-to-face sessions. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expanded implementation to support GLA:D® via telehealth. This project evaluates the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM framework) of GLA:D® via telehealth in Australia during the pandemic.
      Method: In this cohort study, people with hip or knee OA who reported completing telehealth-only GLA:D® at 3-month follow-up from March 2020-March 2021 were identified from the GLA:D® Australia registry. RE-AIM dimensions were examined descriptively. For the effectiveness domain, mean differences [MD, (95% confidence intervals)] from baseline to 3-month follow-up were calculated for pain (visual analogue scale, 0-100), quality of life (knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score or hip disability and osteoarthritis outcome score - joint-related quality of life sub-scales), and 30-second chair stand test.
      Discussion: Participant demographics and clinical outcomes related to GLA:D® delivered via telehealth in Australia during the pandemic were comparable to published data related to face-to-face delivery. However, implementation was limited. Future qualitative work will explore barriers and enablers of GLA:D® via telehealth to guide strategies and resources (e.g. training, telehealth toolkit) to normalise the delivery of GLA:D® via telehealth as part of physiotherapy practice.
      Conflict of interest statement: GLA:D® Australia is a not-for-profit organization that receives income from training physiotherapy training courses. This income contributes to salary support for AE, MP, KD.