Training physiotherapists to be responsive to their clients’ health literacy needs
Bird, ML and Elmer, S and Osborne, RH and Flittner, A and O'Brien, JA, Training physiotherapists to be responsive to their clients' health literacy needs, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice ISSN 0959-3985 (2020) [Refereed Article]
Objective: To evaluate health literacy learning modules designed specifically for physiotherapists in private practice.
Methods: Mixed-method design was used, evaluating pre-post physiotherapist health literacy knowledge and competencies using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. One rural and one metropolitan private physiotherapy practice were recruited.
Participants: Clients, physiotherapists, and other clinic staff. The OPHELIA (Optimizing Health Literacy and Access) process was applied to identify the health literacy needs of clients; co-design interventions; and implement and evaluate the interventions. The health literacy learning modules were co-designed with the physiotherapists and included one 3-h face-to-face workshop, followed by two 1-h videoconference workshops. Health literacy knowledge (rated 1-5 for 10 items, max score 50) and skills (rated 1-5 for 5 items, max score 25) were assessed before and after the workshops. Data were analyzed by paired t-test. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed.
Results: Health literacy knowledge of 19 health professionals improved after the workshop by 63% (pre 26.0 (7.5), post 41.0 (2.7), p < .001). Health literacy skills improved by 65% (pre 4.2 (3.3), post 21.8 (2.3), p < .001). We identified three themes from interview data: 1) 'the multi-faceted nature of health literacy requires multiple strategies'; 2) 'changing practice to promote understanding'; and 3) 'reflection on roles of multidisciplinary private practice.'
Practice Implications: Improvements in health literacy knowledge and skills are possible through post-graduate professional development. Conclusion: Workshops changed physiotherapists' understanding of their role in promoting health literacy.
physiotherapist, health education, client-centered, mixed methods, health literacy, evaluation, workshops, professional development