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Family-assisted therapy empowered families of older people transitioning from hospital to the community: A qualitative study


Lawler, K and Taylor, NF and Shields, N, Family-assisted therapy empowered families of older people transitioning from hospital to the community: A qualitative study, Journal of Physiotherapy, 65, (3) pp. 166-171. ISSN 1836-9553 (2019) [Refereed Article]


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© 2019 Australian Physiotherapy Association. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jphys.2019.05.009


Question: What is the experience of patients and families participating in a family-assisted therapy intervention to augment physiotherapy in Transition Care?

Design: Qualitative study using an interpretive description framework.

Participants: Thirteen patients and 18 family members of patients in a Transition Care Program, who had participated in a family-assisted therapy intervention.

Intervention: A 4-week family-assisted therapy program to augment usual physiotherapy care. Families were trained and supported by a physiotherapist to assist with safe and simple activities tailored to the patientís goals.

Data collection and analysis: Semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Researchers independently coded transcripts line by line, and themes and subthemes were derived inductively. Qualitative results were triangulated with quantitative outcomes from a concurrent randomised controlled trial.

Results: The unifying theme was that family-assisted therapy empowered families in a healthcare setting. There were four subthemes: families made a complementary contribution to rehabilitation; family-assisted therapy brought physical and psychosocial benefits; simplicity, boundaries, training and support were important elements of the family-assisted therapy program; and implementation of family-assisted therapy requires a supportive policy and environment. Findings largely converged with quantitative outcomes from the randomised controlled trial.

Conclusion: Family-assisted therapy to augment usual physiotherapy care was a positive and empowering experience for patients and families in Transition Care. This study indicates that family-assisted therapy may increase opportunities for physical activity and, importantly, engage family in a meaningful activity that gives them a genuine role in the healthcare team.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:aged, caregivers, patient participation, physical therapy modalities, qualitative research
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:133313
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2019-06-22
Last Modified:2021-07-05
Downloads:20 View Download Statistics

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