My research aims at understanding and improving the lifestyle and physical fitness of people with chronic conditions, and to apply this knowledge in rehabilitation care.
Main patient groups are spinal cord injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage, cardiovascular disease, cerebral palsy, and COVID-19. Central outcome parameters are health-related physical fitness (aerobic capacity, muscle strength, body composition) and physical behavior (physical activity, sedentary behavior, sleep). Intervention studies focus on exercise and behavioral change strategies and evaluate the impact of improved physical fitness and lifestyle on participation, health-related quality of life and health.
This is what I am most proud of
Based on several studies over the years, among which randomized controlled trials on (cost-)effectiveness, we launched in the beginning of 2020 lifestyle intervention programs for people with brain injury and people who depend on a wheelchair.
It makes me proud that these programs have been implemented now as regular care in Rijndam, and in that way contribute to optimization of rehabilitation care.
Also our contribution to research in a new patient group makes me proud. In the summer of 2020 we received a large grant from the COVID-19 Program Care and Prevention of The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), preceeded by start-funding from Rijndam and Laurens. This made a large multi-center prospective cohort study, CO-FLOW, possible in the Rotterdam-Rijnmond-Delft region.
The CO-FLOW study will provide the urgently needed in-depth knowledge on the unknown long-term (2-year) physical, cognitive, and psychological sequelae of COVID-19 and the quality of current aftercare paths for patients who survived hospitalization. This knowledge is indispensable to facilitate optimization and personalization of aftercare for COVID-19 and future comparable infectious diseases.
Milestones for the coming 2 years
- PhD-students on cerebral palsy (Preserving health & vitality; S Noten), obese patients with coronary artery disease (Opticare-XL; effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a novel tailor-made cardiac rehabilitation program; I den Uijl), and subarachnoid hemorrhage (Fatigue; L de Vries) will defend their theses.
- We will continue and expand our research on lifestyle and physical fitness, with special focus on sustainability, among which application of eHealth in collaboration with TU Delft.
- We will start research on determinants of objectively assessed physical activity in ambulatory people with spinal cord injury, with strain of walking as central parameter (ActivWalkSci 2.0). This research will facilitate optimization of mobility in this growing patient group.