Questions: How important are different aspects of physiotherapy care to patients presenting to a primary care physiotherapist? Are patient factors (eg, age and gender) associated with how important different aspects of physiotherapy care are to individual patients? Design: A cross-sectional survey with consecutive recruitment. Participants: A total of 500 adults aged ≥ 18 years who presented to a primary care physiotherapist. Methods: Participants were recruited from 10 private practices within the Sydney metropolitan area. Participants completed a survey assessing how important five aspects of physiotherapy care were in their initial decision to present to a primary care physiotherapist. These aspects were: diagnosis; information and education; treatment for pain relief; treatment to improve function; and prevention. The survey also collected characteristics of the patients and information about their presentation to the physiotherapist, to assess whether these factors were associated with the aspects of physiotherapy care that they considered most important. Results: A total of 500 surveys were completed, with a response rate of 94%. All five aspects of physiotherapy care were considered either ‘quite important’ or ‘extremely important’ by most participants (diagnosis 65%; information and education 68%; pain relief 89%; improved function 93%; prevention 90%). Patient factors were associated with the participants’ ratings of importance. Female participants and those with spinal pain more commonly rated pain relief as highly important. Participants with lower educational levels were more likely to rate diagnosis and information and education as important. Conclusion This study demonstrated that most patients presenting to primary care physiotherapists value all aspects of physiotherapy care and do not simply want treatment for pain. Patient characteristics were associated with what individual patients considered the most important reason for presenting to a private primary care physiotherapist.
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- physical therapy
- primary care