Jill Howie-Esquivel's heart failure patients not only found relief from symptoms like breathlessness and inflexibility, they found community.
With the pandemic as a backdrop, Howie-Esquivel watched as PALL-Heart participants came early to the live virtual gentle stretching and exercise class she’d developed and was amazed as they stayed late. Attendance was nearly perfect. And one-fifth of her participants came three days or more during the course of the eight-week study—beyond the study’s twice-a-week requirement.
“My goal had always been to get these patients to do the things they can take care of themselves, because they can live longer, and better, and part of that is physical activity,” said Howie-Esquivel, who directs the Adult Gerontology Acute Care master’s program and, in 2020, established the ACTIV Lab. “If one of the things that brings people to exercise is sociability, then great. Whatever it is that gets them there, that’s the goal.”
Today, the ACTIV Lab is making plans to expand its reach beyond heart failure to support those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and, with assistant professor Maureen Metzger, an intervention developed just for patients with advanced kidney disease on dialysis.