Dietary modification and exercise are encouraged to address cardiometabolic risk factors after solid organ transplantation. However, the lived experience of attempting positive lifestyle changes for liver transplant recipients is not known. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of liver transplant recipients and their perspectives of a 12-week telehealth lifestyle programme and assess the feasibility of this innovative health service.
Focus groups and one-on-one interviews were conducted with participants who had completed a 12-week, group-based, telehealth-delivered diet and exercise programme and thematic qualitative analysis was used to code and theme the data.
In total, 19 liver transplant recipients participated in the study (25–68 years, median time since transplant 4.4 years, 63% male). Overarching themes included: (a) ‘broad telehealth advantages' which highlighted that telehealth reduced the perceived burdens of face-to-face care; (b) ‘impact of employment' which identified employment as a competing priority and appeared to effect involvement with the programme; (c) ‘adapting Mediterranean eating pattern to meet individual needs' which identified the adaptability of the Mediterranean diet supported by sessions with the dietitian; (d) ‘increasing exercise confidence' which recognised that a tailored approach facilitated confidence and acceptability of the exercise component of the programme.
A telehealth lifestyle programme delivered by dietitians and exercise physiologists is an acceptable alternative to face-to-face care that can meet the needs of liver transplant recipients. There is a need to further innovate and broaden the scope of routine service delivery beyond face-to-face consultations.