The PIPPRA (Physiotherapist led Intervention to Promote Physical activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis – a pilot study) is a Health Research Board funded project that will examine physical activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The aim of this pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT) is to examine the feasibility of a physiotherapist-led, behaviour change theory-informed, physical activity intervention to promote physical activity in people who have RA who have low levels of physical activity. The study will work out the practicalities of doing the RCT before we proceed to do it as a larger study in different rheumatology centres in Ireland. This first step is important to see how the intervention works, how easy it is to recruit people with RA to take part and to see what participants think of the intervention and the outcome measures used.

The project commenced on 1st July 2019 and is due to finish in September 2021.

The study will be completed in three work packages (WP).

  • WP1 is the pilot RCT study- delivery commenced at the University of Limerick (UHL). Recruitment commenced in October 2019 in UHL and Croom Hospitals. Assessment and intervention commenced November 2019. Covid-19 restrictions impacted WP1 and the PIPPRA team decided to deliver the assessments and intervention virtually starting January 2021 onwards. 
  • WP2 is the qualitative acceptability study, where participants and all involved with the pilot RCT delivery will be interviewed to find out what worked and what could be improved. This will help to guide the delivery of the RCT on a larger scale in the future. WP2 due to commence in January 2021.
  • WP3 is the dissemination and future planning phase. The findings of WP1 and WP2 will be published in research journals and presented to conferences and wider audiences.