Physical Activity Coaching via Telehealth for People With Parkinson Disease: A Cohort Study

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Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy







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Background and Purpose: Physical activity (PA) has many known benefits for people with Parkinson disease (PD); however, many people do not meet recommended levels of frequency or intensity. We designed Engage-PD, a PA coaching program delivered via telehealth and grounded in self-determination theory to promote PA uptake and facilitate exercise self-efficacy in people with Parkinson disease. This study aimed to determine the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of Engage-PD, and to explore whether baseline characteristics were associated with outcomes. Methods: A single cohort of people with PD (n = 62, Hoehn and Yahr I-III) participated in the 3-month Engage-PD program, which consisted of up to 5 telehealth coaching sessions delivered by physical therapists. Feasibility was evaluated based on recruitment and retention rates, along with participants' feedback. Planned and unplanned PA, exercise self-efficacy (ESE), and individualized goals were assessed pre- and post-intervention. Relationships between baseline characteristics and changes in planned PA and ESE were also evaluated. Results: Recruitment (62%) and retention (85%) rates were high, and the intervention was well accepted and perceived by the participants. From pre- to postintervention, participants increased planned PA (d = 0.33), ESE (d = 1.20), and individualized goal performance (d = 1.63) and satisfaction (d = 1.70). Participants with lower baseline planned PA experienced greater improvements in planned PA, and those with lower baseline ESE experienced greater improvements in ESE. Discussion and Conclusions: A telehealth PA coaching program for people with PD was feasible and potentially efficacious. Physical therapist-led coaching may be an important component of a consultative model of care starting early in the disease process.

Funding Sponsor

Parkinson's Foundation


behavior change, coaching, exercise, Parkinson disease, physical activity


Occupational Therapy