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Non-digital support for maintaining physical activity in people with long-term conditions – within Maintenance Of physical acTivity beHaviour (MOTH) programme

Start Date 02/10/21

End Date 30/09/23


Lead - Professors Mary Barker and Maria Stokes

Joint Lead - Professor Suzanne McDonough

Co-Applicants -  Professor Maria Stokes, Dr Paul Clarkson, Dr Chloe Grimmett, Dr Euan Sadler, Dr Nisreen Alwan, Dr Aoife Stephenson, Dr Katherine Bradbury, Dr James Faulkner, Mr Paul Muckelt, Dr Dorit Kunkel, Mrs Luisa Holt amd Dr James Gavin



Being active is important to prevent and help manage long-term conditions (LTC). Previous research shows that being active can help people to do the things that they want to do for longer, reduce pain and improve quality of life. There are many community and NHS programmes that help people with a LTC to start being active, however, these programmes only last for a short period of time. Staying active in the longer-term is more difficult and there is often a decrease in activity over time following the completion of a programme or service. Previous research has shown that programmes or interventions that help people to start being active may not necessarily have the right components to help people to stay active.


This project will plan and develop a new intervention that will support people with one or more LTCs to stay active, after taking part in an NHS and/or third sector ERSsphysical activity referral scheme (PARS). Our current research explores factors that help people with LTCs to stay active to allow these to be integrated into plans for the new intervention. The intervention will be non-digital to ensure that it is available to as many people as possible, regardless of access to the internet or a digital device. We know from previous work that it is important that any new intervention fits in with healthcare systems and how people manage their condition. We are therefore currently working with people with LTCs and health and social care professionals to understand how such an intervention could be delivered in practice.


In this project we will use previously gathered information to plan the new service. We will recruit people with LTCs from ERSs PARS to take part in interviews to understand their needs and expectations for the intervention. We will also undertake interviews with health and social care professionals and ERSPARS practitioners to develop the intervention’s content. This will allow us to develop the prototype of the intervention and then ask people with LTCs who have taken part in a programme to pilot it and provide feedback through interviews. Once developed, we will plan a larger study to test the intervention’s potential with groups of people who have come to the end of an ERS PARS in the NHS and/or the third sector. This study will help us to gain feedback from people with LTCs using the intervention in real life settings to make further changes. It will also help us to understand whether the approaches to the research, such as how to recruit people to take part, are successful. This information will be used to improve the intervention and to support a larger trial to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the intervention.

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