Speaker Biography

Laurice Fretwell

Laurice Fretwell and Meredith Wilkinson come from diverse research backgrounds (cardiovascular pharmacology & psychology, respectively), but have recently joined forces over their shared passion for delineating the causes of, and links between, chronic cardiovascular disease and mental health. Their different methods of research, when combined, enable them to provide a fresh approach to problem-solving. As part of this new partnership, they are supervising a Masters by Research student, Sumaya Shire, who has a background in clinical physiology. This research is part of wider project that aims to identify barriers faced by local ethnic minority groups when accessing support and care for cardiovascular and mental health issues.


Purpose: This systematic review examines the factors/barriers which prevent ethnic minority patients from accessing or completing their cardiac rehabilitation programmes. Background: Cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to improve physical health, encourage healthier lifestyles and decrease cardiac mortality and morbidity. However, despite these benefits ethnic minority patients often have the lowest attendance rates in comparison to the rest of the population. This review is exploring why this is and what can be done. Methods: A systematic review following barriers which prevent ethnic minority patients from attending and completing their programmes were analysed. For this review, only primary research papers (qualitative and mixed methods studies) were considered. We excluded systematic and literature reviews, perspective papers and meta-analysis. There were no restrictions placed in terms of country and date of publication. Around 387 journals were found through selected search terms, which were then analysed through the CASP framework model. Currently, over 10 journals have been analysed and their themes identified below. Conclusion: Six overarching themes have been identified in assessing the lack of uptake and upkeep of cardiac rehabilitation amongst ethnic minority patients: (1) Language barriers, (2) knowledge of cardiac rehabilitation services, (3) accessibility, (4) fatalistic health beliefs, (5) gender, cultural and religious influences and (6) support. Changes in the management of these services can help to eliminate the above barriers.