Implementation of a community-based, physiotherapy-led, multidisciplinary model of care for the management of knee osteoarthritis: protocol for a feasibility study

Rebecca Livings*, Justine M. Naylor, Kathryn Gibson, Sarah Dennis, Jeanette Thom, Kathryn Mills, Siobhan M. Schabrun

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Introduction There is a gap between the care people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) should receive according to evidence-based guidelines and the care they do receive. This feasibility study aims to test the feasibility of developing and implementing a codesigned, physiotherapy-led, multidisciplinary, evidence-based model of care for knee OA, among community physiotherapy practices in Australia, where community practice is defined as a professional physiotherapy business that is not controlled or paid for by the government. Methods and analysis A mixed-methods quasi-experimental (pre/postintervention) study. In the preintervention phase, all consented physiotherapists working in nine metropolitan-based, community physiotherapy practices, and 26 patients with knee OA will be recruited. Patients will be recruited from all practices by the physiotherapists, using the outlined inclusion/exclusion criteria. An audit of physiotherapy treatment notes will occur using a proforma, to gain an understanding of current community physiotherapy treatment and documentation. Patient and physiotherapist interviews will be conducted to determine current practice for the management of knee OA. A codesign phase will follow, where a model of care will be developed by researchers, patients, clinical staff, members of the public and other stakeholders, based on current guidelines for conservative management of knee OA. In the postintervention phase, a further 26 patients will be recruited, and the assessment process repeated to determine whether there is a change in practice. The feasibility outcome measures are: (1) number of patients who are recorded as receiving care according to current evidence-based guidelines; (2) number of patients who have patient-reported outcomes incorporated into their assessment and management plan; and (3) acceptability of the developed model to patients and physiotherapists. The clinical outcomes will include assessment of patient-reported outcome measures (pain, function, etc) in the preintervention and postintervention phases (baseline and 12 weeks) to assess trends towards change in participant symptoms. Ethics and dissemination Ethical approval has been obtained from the University of New South Wales human ethics committee (approval number HC180864, approval period 6 February 2019 to 5 February 2024). The preintervention stage of this study is complete. The next stage is to implement the intervention and compare outcomes between the preintervention and postintervention phases. The results will be disseminated via peer-reviewed publications and presentations at conferences. Trial registration number The preintervention phase of the study is retrospectively registered at with registration number: ACTRN12620000188932. The intervention and postintervention phase of the study is prospectively registered at with registration number: ACTRN12620000218998.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere039152
    Pages (from-to)1-8
    Number of pages8
    JournalBMJ Open
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • protocols & guidelines
    • quality in health care
    • rheumatology


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