|Study Title:||Experiences of Physical Activity for People Living with Multiple Sclerosis and Care Partners of People with Multiple Sclerosis in British Columbia During the COVID-19 Pandemic|
|Rationale:||Living with MS poses challenges to individual physical activity and exercise. During the COVID-19 pandemic, additional challenges limiting physically activity were introduced to British Columbians. Key factors such as closures of facilities and locations where physical activity is performed, social distancing and restrictions have decreased access to some health services. In order to understand the impact these changes have had on individuals with MS living in British Columbia, this qualitative study is proposed. This project will examine the intersection of MS, COVID-19 and physical activity to describe the experiences of physical activity and identify the facilitators and barriers to physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Identifying what has contributed to physical activity or decreased physical activity during this time may lead to future research and initiatives to promote physical activity for PwMS, with particular emphasis on northern regions of BC, which may have implications like the delay of disease progression or improved quality of life. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many services like health appointments and exercise classes were offered online. Examining whether these services were used by PwMS during the COVID-19 pandemic will be beneficial in determining what contributed to decreased, maintenance or increased physical activity participation in this specific population of British Columbia. This project may also contribute to the understanding about the use of and receptivity towards online fitness classes, which may be valuable when considering the feasibility and potential expansion of future online programs. Identifying what has encouraged or prevented individuals with MS from participating in physical activity during this time, will be beneficial for health care practitioners, exercise professionals, program designers, policy makers, care partners of PwMS and PwMS to identify strategies to meet physical activity levels.|
|Study Description:||What are we studying?
The experiences of physical activity of people with MS during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How would you be involved?
A 30 minute to 1 hour long semi-structured interview via Zoom or telephone. You will be asked approximately 10 questions about your experience with physical activity during COVID-19. Demographic questions will also be asked but will be optional to answer (i.e age, gender, community of residence).
What happens to the results and Information gathered?
Any data gathered from you will be anonymized and analyzed using thematic analysis to look for themes. Findings of research will be reported in an undergraduate honours thesis, an online presentation in April 2021, and research summaries shared with the public and participants. Additionally, findings may be submitted to a research journal for publication or shared in conferences or seminars.
Physical activity has been shown to improve symptoms (i.e. postpone occurrence of symptoms and reduce worsening of symptoms) of multiple sclerosis (MS). This includes symptoms of fatigue, pain, depressive symptoms, walking, balance, and muscle strength (Dalgas et al., 2019). Though physical activity can improve symptoms of MS, these same symptoms (i.e. fatigue, weakness and low mood) can also be barriers, preventing individuals with MS from participating in general activities and exercise programs (Learmonth et al., 2020). During the COVID-19 pandemic, closures of facilities and locations where physical activity is performed have limited physical activity opportunities for all British Columbians. This project will examine the intersection of MS, COVID-19 and physical activity to describe the experiences of physical activity and identify the facilitators and barriers to physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. This qualitative project will involve semi-structured interviews with people with MS and care partners of people with MS to understand and describe their experiences of physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic. This project will address the following research questions:
1. What are the experiences of physical activity participation during the COVID-19 pandemic among individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS) and care partners of people with MS in British Columbia?
2. What are the facilitators and barriers to physical activity for people with MS during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dalgas, U., Langeskov-Christensen, M., Stenager, E., Riemenschneider, M., & Hvid, L. G. (2019). Exercise as medicine in multiple sclerosis-Time for a paradigm shift: Preventive, symptomatic, and disease-modifying aspects and perspectives. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, 19(11), 88. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11910-019-1002-3
Learmonth, Y. C., Rice, I. M., Ostler, T., Rice, L. A., & Motl, R. W. (2015). Perspectives on physical activity among people with multiple sclerosis who are wheelchair users: Informing the design of future interventions. International journal of MS care, 17(3), 109– 119. https://doi.org/10.7224/1537-2073.2014-018
|Recruitment Dates:||2021-01-12 to 2021-02-12|
|Who can participate:||Participants over the age of 18, speak English, can talk about their experience during COVID-19 and live in British Columbia. Participants must be either an individual with MS or a care partner of someone with MS.|
|Location of Trial:||University of Northern British Columbia|
|Contact Information:||Alanna Koopmans (Undergraduate Honours Student) and Dr. Chelsea Pelletier (Honours Supervisor)
|Trial Funding:||University Hospital Foundation|