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Involving family members in physiotherapy for older people transitioning from hospital to the community: a qualitative analysis


Lawler, K and Taylor, NF and Shields, N, Involving family members in physiotherapy for older people transitioning from hospital to the community: a qualitative analysis, Disability and Rehabilitation, 37, (22) pp. 2061-2069. ISSN 0963-8288 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Informa UK Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.3109/09638288.2014.996673


Purpose: To generate an understanding of the opinions of key people associated with a program for older people transitioning from hospital back to the community and explore their thoughts around training family members to help provide physiotherapy.

Method: A qualitative study using focus groups and semi-structured interviews was conducted. Participants included patients admitted to a transitional care program, their family members, physiotherapists working in transitional care and members of a consumer group from the health service where the transitional care program was based. Data were transcribed verbatim and a thematic analysis was conducted.

Results: Four patients, four family members, four consumer group members and eight physiotherapists participated in this study. Three themes emerged: family members providing physiotherapy may improve outcomes for patients; training family members to provide physiotherapy should include key elements and be individualised; and involving family members in physiotherapy may impact positively and negatively on people and relationships.

Conclusions: Older people transitioning from hospital to the community are at risk of functional decline and may receive very little physiotherapy. Training family members to assist with physiotherapy was perceived as a way to improve patient outcomes and relationships between patients and their family, although there were concerns raised about caregiver stress. Evaluation of the feasibility and effectiveness of this approach is warranted.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:care giver, older people, physiotherapy, training
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Allied health and rehabilitation science
Research Field:Physiotherapy
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)
UTAS Author:Lawler, K (Dr Katherine Lawler)
ID Code:133306
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2019-06-22
Last Modified:2019-08-05

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