Document Detail

Experiences and perspectives of physical therapists managing patients covered by workers' compensation in Queensland, Australia.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22745200     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Physical therapists have an active role in the rehabilitation of injured workers. However, regulations in Queensland, Australia, do not afford them the opportunity to participate in return-to-work (RTW) decisions in a standardized way. No prior research has explored the experiences and perceptions of therapists in determining work capacity.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate physical therapists' experiences with and perspectives on their role in determining readiness for RTW and work capacity for patients receiving workers' compensation in Queensland. Design A qualitative design was used. Participants were physical therapists who manage injured workers.
METHODS: Novice (n=5) and experienced (n=20) therapists managing patients receiving workers' compensation were selected through purposeful sampling to participate in a focus group or semistructured telephone interviews. Data obtained were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were thematically analyzed. Physical therapists' confidence in making RTW decisions was determined with 1 question scored on a 0 to 10 scale.
RESULTS: Themes identified were: (1) physical therapists believe they are important in RTW, (2) physical therapists use a variety of methods to determine work capacity, and (3) physical therapists experience a lack of role clarity. Therapists made recommendations for RTW using clinical judgment informed by subjective and objective information gathered from the injured worker. Novice therapists were less confident in making RTW decisions.
CONCLUSION: Therapists are well situated to gather and interpret the information necessary to make RTW recommendations. Strategies targeting the Australian Physiotherapy Association, physical therapists, and the regulators are needed to standardize assessment of readiness for RTW, improve role clarity, and assist novice practitioners.
Venerina Johnston; Mandy Nielsen; Marc Corbière; Reneé-Louise Franche
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-06-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Physical therapy     Volume:  92     ISSN:  1538-6724     ISO Abbreviation:  Phys Ther     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-02     Completed Date:  2013-02-13     Revised Date:  2013-07-12    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0022623     Medline TA:  Phys Ther     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1306-15     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Attitude of Health Personnel*
Focus Groups
Interviews as Topic
Middle Aged
Occupational Diseases / economics*,  rehabilitation
Physical Therapists* / economics,  psychology
Physical Therapy Modalities / economics*
Qualitative Research
Return to Work
Workers' Compensation* / economics,  legislation & jurisprudence
Young Adult
Grant Support
FRN: 53909//Canadian Institutes of Health Research

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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