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Open Access Research article

Interprofessional practices of physiotherapists working with adults with low back pain in Québec’s private sector: results of a qualitative study

Kadija Perreault12, Clermont E Dionne123*, Michel Rossignol45 and Diane Morin26

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec, Québec City, Canada

2 Université Laval, Québec City, Canada

3 Axe Santé des populations et pratiques optimales en santé, CHU de Québec Research Center, Québec City, Canada

4 Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux, Montréal, Canada

5 Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montréal, Canada

6 Institut universitaire de formation et de recherche en soins, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:160  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-160

Published: 17 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Collaboration and interprofessional practices are highly valued in health systems, because they are thought to improve outcomes of care for persons with complex health problems, such as low back pain. Physiotherapists, like all health providers, are encouraged to take part in interprofessional practices. However, little is known about these practices, especially for private sector physiotherapists. This study aimed to: 1) explore how physiotherapists working in the private sector with adults with low back pain describe their interprofessional practices, 2) identify factors that influence their interprofessional practices, and 3) identify their perceived effects.

Methods

Participants were 13 physiotherapists, 10 women/3 men, having between 3 and 21 years of professional experience. For this descriptive qualitative study, we used face-to-face semi-structured interviews and conducted content analysis encompassing data coding and thematic regrouping.

Results

Physiotherapists described interprofessional practices heterogeneously, including numerous processes such as sharing information and referring. Factors that influenced physiotherapists’ interprofessional practices were related to patients, providers, organizations, and wider systems (e.g. professional system). Physiotherapists mostly viewed positive effects of interprofessional practices, including elements such as gaining new knowledge as a provider and being valued in one’s own role, as well as improvements in overall treatment and outcome.

Conclusions

This qualitative study offers new insights into the interprofessional practices of physiotherapists working with adults with low back pain, as perceived by the physiotherapists’ themselves. Based on the results, the development of strategies aiming to increase interprofessionalism in the management of low back pain would most likely require taking into consideration factors associated with patients, providers, the organizations within which they work, and the wider systems.

Keywords:
Interprofessional collaboration; Physiotherapy; Physical therapy; Low back pain; Private sector; Qualitative research