Nurses' views on physical activity for people with serious mental illness

Brenda Happell, David Scott, Chris Platania-Phung, Janette Nankivell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: People with serious mental illness experience heightened physical ill-health. Physical activity is an effective strategy for improving physical health in this group. This paper explores nurse views on the place of physical activity in the physical health care of people with serious mental illness who are receiving mental health care services. Methods: A qualitative exploratory study involving 38 nurses working in a regional and remote area of Queensland, Australia. Focus group interviews were audio recorded and transcribed and a thematic analysis was conducted. Results: Holism was identified as the main theme and physical activity was thought about as an aspect of holism at the level of the person and environment. For nurses, holism equated with supporting consumers in being more physical active and having healthier lifestyles. This was qualified by the sub-themes of fragmentation (that rendered physical activity difficult for consumers, and the nurses supporting them), and integration (where nurses and colleagues sought to address fragmentation in conjunction with consumers, but with transient success). Conclusion: As part of their holistic outlook, nurses recognise the importance of physical activity for consumers' overall health, and were involved in promoting physical activity through health education. When nurses tried to develop holism in mental health care (e.g. re-integrating services) sources of fragmentation were too significant and wide-ranging to overcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-12
Number of pages9
JournalMental Health and Physical Activity
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chronic illness management
  • Communication
  • Community mental health care
  • Inpatient care
  • Nursing
  • Physical activity
  • Prevention

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