Physiotherapy - Research Publications

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    An international core capability framework for physiotherapists delivering telephone-based care.
    Davies, L ; Hinman, RS ; Russell, T ; Lawford, B ; Bennell, K (Elsevier BV, 2022-04)
    QUESTION: What are the core capabilities that physiotherapists need in order to deliver quality telephone-based care? DESIGN: Three-round modified e-Delphi survey. PARTICIPANTS: An international Delphi panel comprising experts in the field, including consumers, physiotherapy researchers, physiotherapy clinicians and representatives of physiotherapy organisations. METHODS: A modified e-Delphi survey was conducted. A draft framework was adapted from a previously developed core capability framework for physiotherapists delivering care via videoconferencing. The panel considered the draft framework of 39 individual capabilities across six domains. Over three rounds, panellists rated their agreement (via Likert or 0-to-10 numerical rating scales) on whether each capability was essential (core) for physiotherapists to deliver telephone-based care. Capabilities achieving consensus, defined as 75% of the panel rating the item at least 7 out of 10 in Round 3, were retained. RESULTS: Seventy-one panellists from 17 countries participated in Round 1, with retention of 89% in Round 2 and 82% in Round 3. The final framework comprised 44 capabilities across six domains: compliance (n = 7 capabilities); patient privacy and confidentiality (n = 4); patient safety (n = 7); telehealth delivery (n = 9); assessment and diagnosis (n = 7); and care planning and management (n = 10). CONCLUSION: This framework outlines the core capabilities that physiotherapists need to provide telephone-based care. It can help inform content of physiotherapy curricula and professional development initiatives in telehealth delivery and provide guidance for physiotherapists providing care over the telephone.
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    Use, and acceptability, of digital health technologies in musculoskeletal physical therapy: A survey of physical therapists and patients
    Merolli, M ; Gray, K ; Choo, D ; Lawford, BJ ; Hinman, RS (WILEY, 2022-03-12)
    OBJECTIVES: Determine (a) frequency of digital health use to obtain/record clinical information (pre-COVID-19); (b) willingness to use digital technologies among physical therapists and patients with musculoskeletal conditions. METHODS: 102 physical therapists, and 103 patients were recruited in Australia. An electronic survey ascertained (a) demographic/clinical characteristics, (b) frequency of methods to obtain and record clinical information; (c) willingness to use digital technologies to support musculoskeletal care. RESULTS: Physical therapists mostly used non-digital methods to obtain subjective (e.g., face-to-face questioning, n = 98; 96.1%) and objective information (e.g., visual estimation, n = 95; 93.1%). The top three digital health technologies most frequently used by therapists: photo-based image capture (n = 19; 18.6%), accessing information logged/tracked by patients into a mobile app (n = 14; 13.7%), and electronic systems to capture subjective information that the patient fills in (n = 13; 12.7%). The top three technologies used by patients: activity trackers (n = 27; 26.2%), logging/tracking health information on mobile apps or websites (n = 12; 11.7%), and entering information on a computer (n = 12; 7.8%). Physical therapists were most willing to use technologies for: receiving diagnostic imaging results (n = 99; 97.1%), scheduling appointments (n = 92; 90.2%) and capturing diagnostic results (n = 92; 90.2%). Patients were most willing to use technologies for receiving notifications about health test results (n = 91; 88.4%), looking up health information (n = 83; 80.6%) and receiving personalised alerts/reminders (n = 80; 77.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Physical therapists and patients infrequently use digital health technologies to support musculoskeletal care, but expressed some willingness to consider using them for select functions.
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    Expert-Moderated Peer-to-Peer Online Support Group for People With Knee Osteoarthritis: Mixed Methods Randomized Controlled Pilot and Feasibility Study.
    Egerton, T ; Lawford, BJ ; Campbell, PK ; Plinsinga, ML ; Spiers, L ; Mackenzie, DA ; Graham, B ; Mills, K ; Eyles, J ; Knox, G ; Metcalf, B ; Maclachlan, LR ; Besomi, M ; Dickson, C ; Abraham, C ; Vicenzino, B ; Hodges, PW ; Hunter, DJ ; Bennell, KL (JMIR Publications Inc., 2022-01-17)
    BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a major problem globally. First-line management comprises education and self-management strategies. Online support groups may be a low-cost method of facilitating self-management. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this randomized controlled pilot study is to evaluate the feasibility of the study design and implementation of an evidence-informed, expert-moderated, peer-to-peer online support group (My Knee Community) for people with knee OA. The impacts on psychological determinants of self-management, selected self-management behaviors, and health outcomes were secondary investigations. METHODS: This mixed methods study evaluated study feasibility (participant recruitment, retention, and costs), experimental intervention feasibility (acceptability and fidelity to the proposed design, including perceived benefit, satisfaction, and member engagement), psychological determinants (eg, self-efficacy and social support), behavioral measures, health outcomes, and harms. Of a total of 186, 63 (33.9%) participants (41/63, 65% experimental and 22/63, 35% control) with self-reported knee OA were recruited from 186 volunteers. Experimental group participants were provided membership to My Knee Community, which already had existing nonstudy members, and were recommended a web-based education resource (My Joint Pain). The control group received the My Joint Pain website recommendation only. Participants were not blinded to their group allocation or the study interventions. Participant-reported data were collected remotely using web-based questionnaires. A total of 10 experimental group participants also participated in semistructured interviews. The transcribed interview data and all forum posts by the study participants were thematically analyzed. RESULTS: Study feasibility was supported by acceptable levels of retention; however, there were low levels of engagement with the support group by participants: 15% (6/41) of participants did not log in at all; the median number of times visited was 4 times per participant; only 29% (12/41) of participants posted, and there were relatively low levels of activity overall on the forum. This affected the results for satisfaction (overall mean 5.9/10, SD 2.7) and perceived benefit (17/31, 55%: yes). There were no differences among groups for quantitative outcomes. The themes discussed in the interviews were connections and support, information and advice, and barriers and facilitators. Qualitative data suggest that there is potential for people to derive benefit from connecting with others with knee OA by receiving support and assisting with unmet informational needs. CONCLUSIONS: Although a large-scale study is feasible, the intervention implementation was considered unsatisfactory because of low levels of activity and engagement by members. We recommend that expectations about the support group need to be made clear from the outset. Additionally, the platform design needs to be more engaging and rewarding, and membership should only be offered to people willing to share their personal stories and who are interested in learning from the experiences of others. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12619001230145; http://anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=377958.
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    Perceptions About the Efficacy and Acceptability of Telephone and Video-Delivered Allied Health Care for Adults With Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-sectional National Survey.
    Lawford, BJ ; Hinman, RS ; Morello, R ; Oliver, K ; Spittle, A ; Bennell, KL (Elsevier BV, 2022-07)
    OBJECTIVE: To investigate and compare perceptions about the efficacy and acceptability of allied health care delivered via telephone and video call for adults with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN: Cross-sectional national survey. SETTING: Participants who accessed occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, or speech pathology care via telephone or via video call from June to September 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Five hundred eighty-one adults with permanent or significant disabilities, or their carers, partners, or family members, who were funded by the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme. INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Experiences (eg, safety, efficacy, ease of use) with telephone and video-delivered care. Data were analyzed by calculating response proportions and chi-square tests to evaluate differences in experiences between allied health professions and between telephone and video modalities. RESULTS: Responses were obtained for 581 adults with disabilities. There was no evidence of differences between experiences with telephone or video-delivered services or across allied health professions. Overall, 47%-56% of respondents found telehealth technology easy to use (vs 17%-26% who found it difficult), 51%-55% felt comfortable communicating (vs 24%-27% who felt uncomfortable), 51%-67% were happy with the privacy and/or security (vs 6%-9% who were unhappy), 74% were happy with the safety (vs 5%-7% who were unhappy), and 56%-64% believed the care they received was effective (vs 17% who believed it was ineffective). Despite this, 48%-51% were unlikely to choose to use telephone or video consultations in the future (vs 32%-36% who were likely). CONCLUSIONS: Adults with disabilities in Australia had generally positive experiences receiving allied health care via telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, although some experienced difficulties using and communicating via the technology. Findings indicated no differences between satisfaction with telephone or video modalities, or between physiotherapy, speech pathology, occupational therapy, or psychology services.
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    Design, Delivery, Maintenance, and Outcomes of Peer-to-Peer Online Support Groups for People With Chronic Musculoskeletal Disorders: Systematic Review
    Maclachlan, LR ; Mills, K ; Lawford, BJ ; Egerton, T ; Setchell, J ; Hall, LM ; Plinsinga, ML ; Besomi, M ; Teo, PL ; Eyles, JP ; Mellor, R ; Melo, L ; Robbins, S ; Hodges, PW ; Hunter, DJ ; Vicenzino, B ; Bennell, KL (JMIR PUBLICATIONS, INC, 2020-04-24)
    BACKGROUND: Online support groups (OSGs) are one way for people with chronic diseases, their family or friends, and health professionals to communicate, gain information, and provide social support. As the number of peer-to-peer OSGs for chronic musculoskeletal conditions grows, it is important to gain insight into the different designs of groups available, who is accessing them, if and how they may be effective, and what strategies are being used to implement or increase consumer engagement. OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this systematic review of people with musculoskeletal conditions were to (1) describe the design features (functions, usage options, moderation, and expert input) of peer-to-peer OSGs, (2) describe the characteristics of the individuals using peer-to-peer OSGs, (3) synthesize the evidence on outcomes of participation, and (4) identify strategies used in the delivery and maintenance of OSGs. METHODS: A search comprising terms related to the population (people with musculoskeletal disorders) and the intervention (peer-to-peer OSGs) was conducted in 6 databases. Results were filtered from 1990 (internet inception) to February 2019. Studies identified in the search were screened according to predefined eligibility criteria using a 2-step process. Quantitative studies were appraised by 2 reviewers using the Risk Of Bias In Non-Randomized Studies of Interventions tool. Qualitative studies were appraised by 2 different reviewers using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklist. Extracted data were synthesized narratively. RESULTS: We examined 21 studies with low to moderate risk of bias. Of these studies, 13 studies included OSGs hosted on public platforms, 11 studies examined OSGs that were conducted in English, and 6 studies used moderators or peer leaders to facilitate engagement. Studies either reported the number of OSG members (n=1985 across all studies) or the number of posts (range: 223-200,000). The majority of OSG members were females who were not full-time employees and with varied levels of education. There were no randomized controlled trials measuring the efficacy of OSGs. Qualitative and quantitative studies identified empowerment, social support, self-management behavior, and health literacy as primary constructs to measure OSG efficacy. Neutral or marginal improvement was reported in these constructs. Sharing experiences and a greater level of engagement appeared to have an important influence on OSGs efficacy. The extent to which members posted on the website influenced engagement. CONCLUSIONS: Across a diverse range of designs, languages, included features, and delivery platforms, peer-to-peer OSGs for chronic musculoskeletal conditions attract predominantly female participants of all ages and education levels. The level of participation of a member appears to be related to their perceived benefit, health literacy, and empowerment. Future studies are needed to identify which design and maintenance strategies have superior efficacy and whether there are concomitant improvements in health outcomes for people with chronic musculoskeletal conditions resulting from participation in OSGs. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews CRD42018090326; https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?ID=CRD42018090326.
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    An international core capability framework for physiotherapists to deliver quality care via videoconferencing: a Delphi study
    Davies, L ; Hinman, RS ; Russell, T ; Lawford, B ; Bennell, K (AUSTRALIAN PHYSIOTHERAPY ASSOC, 2021-10-01)
    QUESTION: What are the core capabilities that physiotherapists need in order to deliver quality care via videoconferencing? DESIGN: A three-round modified e-Delphi survey. PARTICIPANTS: An international Delphi panel comprising a Steering Group and experts in the field, including physiotherapy researchers, physiotherapy clinicians, representatives of physiotherapy organisations, and consumers. METHODS: The draft framework was developed by the research team and Steering Group, based on relevant documents identified within the literature. The panel considered a draft framework of 73 specific capabilities mapped across eight domains. Over three rounds, panellists rated their agreement (Likert or numerical rating scales) on whether each capability was essential (core) for physiotherapists to deliver quality care via videoconferencing. Those capabilities achieving consensus, defined as 75% of the panel ratings being ≥ 7 out of 10 in Round 3, were retained. RESULTS: A total of 130 panellists from 32 countries participated in Round 1, with retention rates of 65% and 60% in Rounds 2 and 3, respectively. The final framework comprised 60 capabilities across seven domains: compliance (n = 7 capabilities); patient privacy and confidentiality (n = 4); patient safety (n = 7); technology skills (n = 7); telehealth delivery (n = 16); assessment and diagnosis (n = 7); and care planning and management (n = 12). CONCLUSION: This framework outlines the specific core capabilities required of physiotherapists to provide quality care via videoconferencing. The core capability framework provides guidance for physiotherapists to deliver care via videoconferencing and will help inform future development of physiotherapy curricula and professional development initiatives in the delivery of telehealth.
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    Effect of Ankle Plantar Flexor Spasticity Level on Balance in Patients With Stroke: Protocol for a Cross-Sectional Study.
    Mahmoudzadeh, A ; Nakhostin Ansari, N ; Naghdi, S ; Sadeghi-Demneh, E ; Motamedzadeh, O ; Shaw, BS ; Shariat, A ; Shaw, I (JMIR Publications Inc., 2020-08-21)
    BACKGROUND: The lower limb spasticity after stroke can affect the balance and gait of patients with stroke. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to assess the effects of ankle plantar flexor spasticity level on balance in patients with stroke. METHODS: Patients with stroke were recruited from neurology and physiotherapy clinics in Tehran, Iran. Based on the level of ankle plantar flexor spasticity according to the Modified Modified Ashworth Scale (MMAS), the eligible patients with stroke were divided into 2 groups: high spasticity (MMAS score≥2) and low spasticity (MMAS score<2). The primary outcome measures were the MMAS scores, Activities-Specific Balance Confidence questionnaire scores, eyes-open and eyes-closed posturography measures, and Timed Up and Go test results. The secondary outcome measures were the ankle passive range of motion and ankle joint proprioception. The t test, mixed model univariate analysis of variance, and Spearman rank correlation were used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: Data collection and statistical analysis are complete. The interpretation of results is underway. We expect the results to be published in winter 2020. CONCLUSIONS: We believe that patients with high ankle plantar flexor spasticity after stroke will demonstrate greater balance dysfunction, which will worsen with impaired proprioception, passive range of motion, and eyes closed. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR1-10.2196/16045.
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    Physiotherapists and patients report positive experiences overall with telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic: a mixed-methods study
    Bennell, KL ; Lawford, BJ ; Metcalf, B ; Mackenzie, D ; Russell, T ; van den Berg, M ; Finnin, K ; Crowther, S ; Aiken, J ; Fleming, J ; Hinman, RS (AUSTRALIAN PHYSIOTHERAPY ASSOC, 2021-06-28)
    QUESTION: What were the experiences of physiotherapists and patients who consulted via videoconference during the COVID-19 pandemic and how was it implemented? DESIGN: Mixed methods study with cross-sectional national online surveys and qualitative analysis of free-text responses. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 207 physiotherapists in private practice or community settings and 401 patients aged ≥ 18 years who consulted (individual and/or group) via videoconference from April to November 2020. METHODS: Separate customised online surveys were developed for physiotherapists and patients. Data were collected regarding the implementation of videoconferencing (cost, software used) and experience with videoconferencing (perceived effectiveness, safety, ease of use and comfort communicating, each scored on a 4-point ordinal scale). Qualitative content analysis was performed of physiotherapists' free-text responses about perceived facilitators, barriers and safety issues. RESULTS: Physiotherapists gave moderate-to-high ratings for the effectiveness of and their satisfaction with videoconferencing. Most intended to continue to offer individual consultations (81%) and group classes (60%) via videoconferencing beyond the pandemic. For individual consultations and group classes, respectively, most patients had moderately or extremely positive perceptions about ease of technology use (94%, 91%), comfort communicating (96%, 86%), satisfaction with management (92%, 93%), satisfaction with privacy/security (98%, 95%), safety (99% both) and effectiveness (83%, 89%). Compared with 68% for group classes, 47% of patients indicated they were moderately or extremely likely to choose videoconferencing for individual consultations in the future. Technology was predominant as both a facilitator and barrier. Falls risk was the main safety factor. CONCLUSION: Patients and physiotherapists had overall positive experiences using videoconferencing for individual consultations and group classes. The results suggest that videoconferencing is a viable option for the delivery of physiotherapy care in the future.
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    Digital Health Interventions in Physiotherapy: Development of Client and Health Care Provider Survey Instruments
    Merolli, M ; Hinman, RS ; Lawford, BJ ; Choo, D ; Gray, K (JMIR PUBLICATIONS, INC, 2021-07-01)
    BACKGROUND: The advancement of digital health has widened the scope of technology use across multiple frontiers of health care services, including personalized therapeutics, mobile health, eHealth record management, and telehealth consultations. The World Health Organization (WHO) responded to this in 2018 by publishing an inaugural broad classification framework of digital health interventions (DHIs) used to address contemporary health system needs. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to describe the systematic development of dual survey instruments (clinician and patient) to support data collection, administered in a physiotherapy setting, about perceptions toward DHIs. This is achieved by adapting the WHO framework classification for DHIs for application in real-world research. METHODS: Using a qualitative item review approach, WHO DHI descriptors were adapted and refined systematically to be used in a survey form. This approach was designed to align with the processes of delivering and receiving care in clinical practice, using musculoskeletal physiotherapy as a practical case scenario. RESULTS: Complementary survey instruments (for health care providers and clients) were developed by adapting descriptor items. These instruments will be used in a larger study exploring the willingness of physiotherapists and patients to use digital technologies in the management of musculoskeletal conditions. CONCLUSIONS: This study builds on the WHO-standardized DHI framework. We developed dual novel survey instruments by adapting and refining the functions of DHIs. These may be deployed to explore the perceived usefulness and application of DHIs for different clinical care functions. Researchers may wish to use these survey instruments to examine digital health use systematically in a variety of clinical fields or technology scenarios in a way that is standardized and generalizable.
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    "I Could Do It in My Own Time and When I Really Needed It": Perceptions of Online Pain Coping Skills Training For People With Knee Osteoarthritis
    Lawford, BJ ; Hinman, RS ; Nelligan, RK ; Keefe, F ; Rini, C ; Bennell, KL (WILEY, 2020-12-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To qualitatively explore the perceptions and experiences of people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) who used an online automated pain coping skills training program (PCST). METHODS: This was a descriptive qualitative study (based on interpretivist methodology) embedded within a randomized controlled trial. Individual semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 people with knee OA who had participated in an 8-week automated online PCST program while also receiving exercise advice and support from a physical therapist via Skype. Interviews in this study focused specifically on the online PCST program, rather than the physical therapy component. Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed verbatim, and thematically analyzed. RESULTS: Five themes arose: 1) easy to understand and follow (clearly explained, presented well), 2) better able to cope with pain (controlling pain, helping relax, pacing self, incorporating skills into exercise program), 3) anonymity and flexibility (no judgement by clinician, work at own pace, accessibility), 4) not always relatable or engaging (some techniques not useful, Americanization of the program, annoying character examples, time consuming and slow-paced), and 5) support from clinician desirable (follow-up from a clinician would be beneficial, worked in tandem with physical therapist-prescribed exercise, desire referral to the program by a trusted source). CONCLUSION: People with knee OA had generally positive experiences using an online PCST program, suggesting that online PCST is a broadly acceptable and accessible way to help people with OA to manage their pain. User engagement may be enhanced by redesigning some aspects of the program and by provision of support from a clinician.