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The current state of physical activity and exercise programs in German-speaking, Swiss psychiatric hospitals: results from a brief online survey

Authors Brand S, Colledge F, Beeler N, Pühse U, Kalak N, Sadeghi Bahmani D, Mikoteit T, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Gerber M

Received 27 February 2016

Accepted for publication 23 March 2016

Published 3 June 2016 Volume 2016:12 Pages 1309—1317

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S107313

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Xiang Mou

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Serge Brand,1,2 Flora Colledge,2 Nadja Beeler,2 Uwe Pühse,2 Nadeem Kalak,1 Dena Sadeghi Bahmani,1 Thorsten Mikoteit,1 Edith Holsboer-Trachsler,1 Markus Gerber2

1Psychiatric Clinics of the University of Basel, Center for Affective, Stress and Sleep Disorders, 2Department of Sport, Exercise and Health, Sport Science Section, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Background:
Physical activity and exercise programs (PAEPs) are an important factor in increasing and maintaining physical and mental health. This holds particularly true for patients with psychiatric disorders undergoing treatment in a psychiatric hospital. To understand whether the benefits reported in the literature are mirrored in current treatment modalities, the aim of the present study was to assess the current state of PAEPs in psychiatric hospitals in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.
Methods:
All psychiatric hospitals (N=55) in the German-speaking part of Switzerland were contacted in spring 2014. Staff responsible for PAEPs were asked to complete an online questionnaire covering questions related to PAEPs such as type, frequency, staff training, treatment rationale, importance of PAEPs within the treatment strategy, and possible avenues to increase PAEPs.
Results:
Staff members of 48 different psychiatric hospitals completed the survey. Hospitals provided the following therapeutic treatments: relaxation techniques (100%), sports therapy (97%), activity-related psychotherapeutic interventions (95%), physiotherapy (85%), body therapies (59%), far-east techniques (57%), and hippotherapy (22%). Frequencies ranged from once/week to five times/week. Approximately 25% of patients participated in the PAEPs. Interventions were offered irrespective of psychiatric disorders. PAEP providers wanted and needed more vocational training.
Conclusion: All participating psychiatric hospitals offer a broad variety of PAEPs in their treatment curricula. However, the majority of inpatients do not participate in PAEPs. Furthermore, those who do participate cannot continue to do so following discharge. PAEP providers need specific extended vocational trainings and believe that the potential of PA should be improved.

Keywords: physical activity, psychiatric disorders, psychiatric hospitals, German-speaking part of Switzerland, sport participation

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